Oklahoma Town Devastated by Tornado Razed Before in 1999

Experts predicted a one in 100 trillion chance homes would be struck twice.

ByABC News
May 21, 2013, 3:10 PM

May 21, 2013 — -- For the residents of Moore, Okla., the damage wrought by Monday's E-F5 tornado was all too familiar.

A storm, following a nearly identical path, struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on May 3, 1999, resulting in one of the costliest tornadoes in U.S. history, leveling nearly everything in its path and killing 36 people.

The 1999 storm, churning at more than 300 miles per hour, was an E-F5 monster, leaving a path of destruction 41 miles wide and some of the fastest wind speeds for a tornado ever recorded.

Damage was estimated at more than $1 billion.

Moore City officials estimated the likelihood of another tornado "as strong and violent" as the 1999 storm hitting their city at less than 1 percent, according to the town's website.

Wind speeds reached 190 miles per hour on Monday, cutting a swath of destruction 17 miles long, according to the National Weather Service.

A recent tornado probability study, published by Weather Decision Technologies, predicted the odds of an E-F4 or stronger tornado hitting a house at one in 10,000.

That same study put the odds of that same house getting hit twice at one in 100 trillion.

But those statistics offer little consolation to a community that finds itself standing amid the rubble of homes it just finished rebuilding.

"You should not have to go through this twice in your lifetime," one resident told ABC News amid the debris that had been her home.

Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis, who was also mayor during the 1999 twister, said the city had learned from that experience about how to rebuild.

"We've already started printing the street signs. It took 61 days to clean up after the 1999 tornado. We had a lot of help then. We've got a lot of help now."

Twenty four people, seven of whom were children, were killed in Monday's twister, according to the Oklahoma Medical Examiner.

Authorities do not know how many people remain missing.