Kent State duo traveled to tornado-stricken Oklahoma town to survey damage

KENT, Ohio - A Kent State University professor and his student are evaluating data they collected in Moore, Oklahoma in the aftermath of a massive tornado that leveled much of the Oklahoma City suburb last week.

"In this particular neighborhood, there's a lot of complete damage," said Dr. Andrew Curtis, a KSU geography professor referring to video he and his student took in Moore. "But now as you move slightly out, you see some of the homes have actually got less."

The pair traveled to the area Thursday to survey the damage using high-tech tiny cameras that attached to their car. The cameras captured video and data that will then be used to map the amount of damage in each area.

"As a person, you want to do everything that you can to help those people," said Spencer Baker, a Kent State geography graduate student who traveled with Curtis to Moore. "But academically, you can look at it as something that's very important."

Baker and Curtis spent three days in the area capturing hours of footage that revealed extensive devastation.  

"It's one thing to see homes damaged and know that people lost a lot, but when you've lost family, I feel like you've lost everything," said Baker, who got emotional when describing what he witnessed first-hand.

While it was Baker's first trip to a grief-stricken area, it was not a new experience for Curtis. Curtis has surveyed damage in places like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and Joplin, Missouri following a massive tornado that tore through the city two years ago.

"Joplin, it was just extensive," said Curtis. "You began at one end, and you went for four or five miles, pretty much anything in that path was gone."

The difference in Moore, according to Curtis, was that there were pockets of extensive devastation combined with areas that didn't get hit as hard.

Curtis said the data collected from Moore will be given to city as well as to federal agencies for research and educational purposes.

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