Mum flying out to tornado hit town

By Genevieve Helliwell


A Tauranga woman is off to America to visit her son who survived two natural disasters - the Christchurch earthquake and the tornado that killed 24 people in Oklahoma this week.

Alison Glesson watched news footage of the devastating aftermath of a tornado that ripped through Moore, which lies 18km from Oklahoma City, where her son Scott Burney lives.

The tornado hit the small town, with a population of 56,000, on Monday (US time). From her Te Puna home, Mrs Gleeson said her son said it was "the worst tornado he had ever seen" in his 16 years living in Oklahoma. "I was worried then I rang him and he said he was fine.

"They live in the centre of the city but my daughter-in-law comes from Moore. All her family and friends seem to be okay. She has one friend who lost her home but they're all fine."

Mrs Gleeson and her husband Warren, are continuing with their pre-arranged travel plans to visit Oklahoma next month. They are prepared to see the devastation caused by the tornado after spending time in a shelter last time they visited the city a few years ago.

"What amazed me was the damage it caused where the front half of a house was gone but the back half was still there and you could still see the dressing gown hanging on the back of the bathroom door. It was bizarre."

Monday's tornado was an EF5 twister, the most powerful type, with winds of at least 320 km/h. The weather service said the tornado's path was 27km long and 2km wide.

When speaking with her son on Tuesday, Mrs Gleeson asked him which was worse - the tornado or the earthquake and he replied earthquake "because he was not prepared for it".

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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