HALL OF FAME: City of Moore, Oklahoma

In 2014 the citizens of Moore, Oklahoma decided to take their non-resilient situation into their own hands.

This city of 60 thousand just south of Oklahoma City had suffered many tornados. A recent 2003 tornado caused 24 deaths and more than $3 billion in losses. Public outcry finally drove action.

Defying the low standards sets by the International Code Council (ICC), the America Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and state code officials, Moore became the first US jurisdiction to unilaterally create a tornado code for its buildings, including homes. It raised the wind design standard by 50% from 90 to 135 mph. The wind standard for building homes across Tornado Alley, a string of states in the central US afflicted by tornados has for decades been stuck at 90 mph.

Besides setting course for a more resilient future, Moore broke the myth propagated by the system’s ‘experts’ in economically justifying their stagnant standards. Working with sensitized local builders they estimated additional construction costs at $1/sf. An analysis performed using data for the entire state of Oklahoma concluded the benefit-cost was more than 3:1. The net benefit of building to the higher wind standard for the entire state was estimated at $25 billion (in 2014 dollars), accruing to private and public stakeholders.

We salute the citizens, city officials and businesses of Moore, Oklahoma for setting a new standard for wind resilience to tornados.

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