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Emergency preparedness supplies are tax-free this weekend. The sales tax holiday runs April 22 - 24. It’s a good time to stock up on emergency supplies since Texas is in the midst of ‘tornado season,’ which runs from March to August. Be aware though: tornadoes can occur anytime, anywhere.

How To Navigate The Insurance Maze After A Big Storm

May 2, 2016
Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

North Texas has been hit with some costly storms in recent months -- storms that have caused billions of dollars in losses. That includes tornadoes the day after Christmas and several recent hailstorms.  

Marcin Wichary / Flickr

For many Texas families, tax-free shopping is a back-to-school tradition. This weekend, swap those folders for flashlights and binders for batteries. Emergency supplies are tax exempt starting Saturday morning.

It’s a first for Texas-- to help folks stock up for severe weather season. Families intent on cleaning out the hardware store should check the state’s “tax free” list before they buy.

Lara Solt / KERA special contributor

KERA’s series, One Crisis Away: Rebuilding A Life chronicles families on the financial edge, trying to recover from the Christmas weekend tornadoes.

Lara Solt / KERA special contributor

A family trying to recover from Christmas weekend tornadoes got some startling news Tuesday.

Lara Solt

Following the December tornadoes that hit North Texas, some of the physical repairs have been made. But emotional scars remain.

Thorne Anderson / KERA news special contributor

KERA’s series One Crisis Away, Rebuilding A Life looks at four families left on the financial edge after December’s tornadoes. When the shelters close and the cameras disappear, recovery is only beginning.

Single mom Jenn Anderson had already rebuilt her life once. She picked up her two toddlers and moved to Garland shortly after her husband’s suicide in Las Vegas.

umass.edu

A new type of weather radar is being tested in North Texas – it was used during December’s deadly tornadoes; and it has a long name: Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of The Atmosphere or CASA. Mark Fox is with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth and he explores the future of Texas weather technology.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

It’s been a little more than a month since tornadoes wrecked some North Texas neighborhoods. In the Garland Independent School District, officials have been busy helping students and their families get through the recovery process.

Jaime / Flickr

On Dec. 26, sirens rang out across North Texas, warning of the dozen tornadoes that would soon touch down. Sirens like those actually fire off less frequently than they did even a few years ago, thanks to advancements in radar technology.

Jackie Arias

South of Dallas, more than 170 buildings were damaged or destroyed by the EF-3 tornado that hit Ellis County. That includes Shields Elementary in the Red Oak Independent School District. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Saturday’s tornado destroyed numerous homes and businesses in rural Collin County. Two people died near a feed store in Copeville and an infant died 20 minutes north in Blue Ridge. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

After nine tornadoes hit North Texas over the weekend, what can people in Ellis, Dallas and Collin counties learn from folks who’ve lived through previous twisters? 

Eleven people died Saturday after tornadoes ripped through North Texas on Saturday. Here's what we know so far about those who died:

National Weather Service / Twitter/@NWSFortWorth

Twelve tornadoes raced through North Texas Saturday night, killing 11 people and damaging hundreds of homes. 

Jessica Allen

Paulette and Howard Rector of Garland had heard stories about the terrifying sound of a tornado, but they’d never heard it. Not until the day after Christmas.

TxDOT Austin / Twitter/@TxDOTAustin

The death toll now stands at six in Texas as more bodies were recovered on Saturday after another band of strong storms and heavy rain spawned three tornadoes and dangerous flooding in the waterlogged state.

National Weather Service / Twitter/@NWSFortWorth

Update, Wednesday evening: And then there were 10. The National Weather Service now says 10 tornadoes raced across North Texas Tuesday. 

Tornadoes in western Oklahoma damaged homes, brought down power lines and otherwise caused havoc Saturday evening, but no casualties have been reported.

National Weather Service / Twitter/@nwsfortworth

As you drive into the city of Van from the west, the mailbox is hard to miss. It says “Storms.”

Several tornados skipped across Wise, Denton and Cooke counties Thursday night. A freight train derailed during the storm early Friday morning. Seventeen cars piled up on the track and four railroad workers were hurt, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

It’s not over yet. The area is in store for a lot more rain, thunder and lightning. One Denton County woman says, she’s ready for round two.

Matt Hines/KXXV-TV Central Texas / Twitter/@MattHinesTX

A severe storm system that swept across parts of North Texas brought numerous reports of tornadoes, damage to buildings, large hail and several inches of rain.

BJ Austin / KERA News

A year ago Thursday, the most powerful North Texas tornado in two decades ripped through Granbury, southwest of Fort Worth.  It devastated one neighborhood in particular: Rancho Brazos. Six people were killed and several dozen were injured. A year later, the rebuilding continues.

Johnson County Emergency Management / @jocotx_em/Twitter

Severe storms raced across North Texas Thursday afternoon, uprooting trees, flooding streets and cutting off power for tens of thousands.

Winds hit 70 mph at some points. For a few minutes, a tornado warning was in effect for Dallas County.

No significant injuries have been reported so far.

This post was updated at 1:53 p.m. ET

Emergency officials were searching Monday for survivors after tornadoes tore through parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma overnight, killing at least 14 people and leveling entire neighborhoods.

"We don't have a count on injuries or missing. We're trying to get a handle on the missing part," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said at a news conference Monday. "Just looking at the damage, this may be one of the strongest we have seen."

For the first time, the American Red Cross' Dallas-Fort Worth chapter is seeking digital volunteers to get information out during big storms and other events.

NOAA

UPDATE: Friday, 5/31  The North Central  Texas Council of  Governments says online applications will be accepted starting Wednesday, June 5th instead of Monday. 

Original story: 

Starting Monday, the North Central Texas Council of Governments will take online applications for FEMA rebates on tornado safe rooms.  Officials say demand is growing after this month’s tornadoes in North Texas and Oklahoma.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Three North Texas counties hit by tornadoes last week won’t get any federal help to clean up and rebuild.

Marlith / flickr.com

The Dallas Catholic Diocese dismissed school at noon today because of the threat of severe weather in North Texas . 

BJ Austin / KERA News

Hood County officials hope to know by the end of the week if the tornado-devastated Rancho Brazos neighborhood will qualify for federal assistance through FEMA.  Right now, the front line of relief is a large cadre of community volunteers. 

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