Tag Archive: safe room

ef5I hate it.  One bad tornado killing people is too many, but within 2 weeks…we have 2 (two bigs ones I’m speaking of and several smaller ones not mentioned here)…and the latest one was a record.  El Reno/Union City, unfortunately, will be forever etched in the record books as likely the largest tornado on record, expanding from a mile wide to 2.6 miles wide in one minute.  That means pretty much the whole wall cloud found its way to the ground.  Unbelievable.  Hearing that among the deceased were veteran storm chasers, I had to pause and wonder…were they thrill seekers and got too close?  Was the storm so violent that it overtook them?

As news and facts started to come out, it was realized that this was the storm of all storms.  They had been taken totally off guard.  The storm didn’t react as most they had chased.  It zig-zagged as if it was purposefully defying the evolution of twisters.  It grew faster than any meteorologist had ever seen, and several lives were lost because of it.

I’ve watched storm chaser videos before.  They all had the same feel.  People with love for weather and respect for it’s power.  At the same time they would comment on the beauty of it, despite it’s destructive path.  These folks truly didn’t want anybody to be hurt and took precautions to stay clear of the path.  The thing about the videos for this particular tornado was that the awe and thrill was not there.  It was sheer terror.  Video upon video they would be a safe distance…then at some point, the look of “Um.  We’re in trouble here” took control.  I’m sad for the ones who lost their lives and for their families.  I’m also thankful for the ones that survived after getting caught up in this terrible monster.

I won’t post any video here.  That’s for you to look at if you desire.  I will leave you with this though.  Last week, I went outside to feel the wind and check the skies for the Broken Arrow tornado.  Had the same thing occurred in B.A. as it happened in El Reno, I would have been in trouble.

The moral of the story here?  When these bad boys are anywhere near your neighborhood, take freaking cover!


Cyclone of Hell

tornadoIt was after 3 pm yesterday as I was mindlessly working away on a spreadsheet wishing it was closer to going home time.  My boss came by the desk, which usually results in a meeting or some other mundane work activity.  This time it was different.  “Go home and be safe”, he said.  Being lost in my work, I didn’t know why he said to go home.  He briefly mentioned that there was a massive tornado on the ground near OKC.  So I gathered my belongings and worked my way to the parking lot.  Turning the ignition, the radio blasted out chatter of rotating activity all over the state.  It was going to be one of “those” Oklahoma afternoons.

As home came closer and closer, it became evident that our family needed to make some precautionary steps to make sure we were okay.  I made it home about the time the kids and wife had finished the school day.  We then headed for Nana and Papas…where the newly put in below ground shelter had been placed.

The kids were a bit on edge, knowing why we were headed there.  we snagged up some dinner, kept things light and were on our way.

The evening ended very quiet for us, dodging yet another evening of sirens and strong circulating winds.  But we can’t say the same for our neighbors in Moore.  On loosely the same track as the one in 1999, a large cyclone turned homes into junk yards.

One story stuck out strongly…the one about the two schools in the path of this terrible storm.  Lives were lost.  Kids were hurt.   It hit home…very close to home.  What if that happened in our neighborhood?

Both of my kids attend the same elementary school AND my wife works in the cafeteria there as well.  I work 20 miles north of home.  If that were to happen in my hood, it would go down as the worst day of my life.  I can only imagine the grief families are going through today.  I pray for there comfort.

Which brings me to another thought.  With the tragedy of Sandy Hook, something we have ways of somewhat controlling, what can be done with natural disasters…especially in the area known as tornado alley?  How can we prevent loss of life?

I remember hunkering down in the hallways by the lockers.  For a twister of this magnitude, that doesn’t work out.  I wonder if there is a way private industry (or the unlikelyhood of the education department of government), could help all area schools…to fund or donate turning big closets into safe rooms or maybe a large underground facility made for shelter?  Just a starting point of thought.  Can we work together to prevent any deaths at our schools?  Can we help communities have a known location near their house they can go to get better shelter?  I appreciate any thoughts you may have.

Please join me in praying for our fellow neighbors in Moore as well as the other communities such as Shawnee who have been effected by these awful cyclones of hell.