Five stories that have North Texas talking: Still reeling from Oklahoma destruction, Texans must brace for more severe storms, elite task force from the Lone Star State heads to Moore, students use math skills to support recovery in West and more.
In a glimpse of good news, state officials say fewer people were killed than originally thought after a massive tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma yesterday afternoon. Earlier this morning the official death toll was 51, with 40 more feared dead. But as it stands now, the number has been revised to 24 victims.
As people struggle to comprehend the scale of the devastation in Moore, the National Weather Service warns of more severe weather today, and the threat includes central Texas. The main concern is tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind. Experts are also worried about flash flooding, especially in the Ark-La-Tex region.
In perhaps the most heartbreaking story within this tragedy, we’re getting more insight into what happened at Moore's Plaza Towers Elementary School. NPR’s Wade Goodwyn reports that fourth, fifth and sixth graders were evacuated to a nearby church to seek shelter. Younger students took cover at the school. At least seven children died in the school’s basement.
- Texas Deploys Elite Rescue Team: A team of highly skilled rescuers known as Texas Task Force 1 left immediately for Moore to support first responders. The task force has been a part of most every major search and rescue operation in the U.S. in recent memory including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and last month’s explosion in West. Texas Task Force 1 includes medical professionals, search dogs, engineers and hazardous material specialists. [Dallas News]
- Fallen Dallas Firefighter Was True Public Servant: We’re learning more about veteran firefighter Stanley Wilson who was killed yesterday morning while battling a condominium fire. Last night Park Cities Baptist Church honored Wilson and his family with a ringing of the bells. They chose the melody “Amazing Grace.” Wilson was heavily involved in church and was also the troop quartermaster for Boy Scout Troop 890 in Dallas, based in the Lake Highlands area. [WFAA]
- Math Problems Add Up To Help: Students across the state zeroed in on arithmetic and algebra as a formula to support the town of West. Over the past several weeks, students dug into the web-based math program, Think Through Math. The company donates a dollar for every 5,000 points scored by solving equations. Students noodled their way to $6,376 and the company supplemented the student donations with an additional $5,000. The top contributors were students from Kingsville ISD, Pasadena ISD, Denton ISD, Dallas ISD, Calhoun County ISD and Mesquite ISD. [KUT]
- Crazy Ants Marching North?: They showed up in Houston back in 2002, but researchers say it isn’t a stretch to conclude that crazy ants may appear in North Texas before long. Crazy ants don’t pack a painful bite, but that’s their only subdued characteristic. They swarm like, well, crazy, they have no natural predators and they have a taste for electronics. They haven’t made it to DFW yet, but they showed up in Austin last year, and their reach continues to grow as time goes by. [Dallas Observer]