Yet another groggy morning as I try and cobble some words together that make sense. Pretty much last night was a repeat of the previous night, with us watching the news to see if and when it was time to take shelter. Not really sure how much I have to say today, but I feel like I have to write something or the experiment chain is broken. So I am going to push forward and see what comes out anyways.
Last night was an extremely bad night in Oklahoma, regardless of where you are in the state you were at more than one point last night under a Tornado Watch. The worst of it hit Moore Oklahoma, which is where the above video comes from. As I was wrapping up my day at work, I heard the news that Moore was hit… and quite honestly at first I thought people were talking about the 1999 Tornado. I just could not believe that an EF 5 Tornado could devastate the exact same town, in roughly the same path as before.
Unfortunately it did, and this time the roughly 1 mile wide tornado was on the ground for over 45 minutes. During this time it destroyed a hospital, two elementary schools… and while I have not heard it since… when it was happening there was talk about it hitting tinker air force base. The last death count I heard was 51, and the hardest part of that is that roughly half of those were children from one of the elementary schools. Loss of life is always tragic, but it just seems even more unfair when it is a child.
The Close Calls
For the most part we made it through the storm fine. I wrapped up and left work about 4pm to head north to the suburb I live in. I had just gotten on the highway when I started getting panicked calls from my wife, turns out that a Tornado was crossing the highway roughly 5 miles ahead of where I currently was. There was really nowhere to get off the road, and I had no sign of the storm… I was coming in behind it, opposite from the direction it was travelling. I turned on KRMG since they have the best local weather, and by their reports it had already crossed the highway and was further down the road than initially thought.
During this time I also got another phone call from my Mom. Turns out that my aunt had an accident, fell out of her wheel chair, and was being rushed to the hospital from my home town an hour north of Tulsa. Based on the weather reports they would be travelling directly through the tornado path. But by the time I called back to check, they had already travelled out of the danger zone. In both cases each of us missed the twister by roughly 5 miles… which is a little too close for comfort.
I made it home safely, and as I waited on my wife to arrive… I went through the sequence of events to prepare the animal cages in the safest spot in our home… our laundry room. I kept my work clothes on and shoes, just to make sure I was ready in case something happened. Then we spent the next few hours watching the news as these slow moving behemoths tracked across the map, somehow moving just to the north or just to the east of us. All the while frightened of the prospect of the store that destroyed Moore heading this way.
By the time that super storm that produced the F5 got to this area of the state, it had veered off course and was starting to lose its steam. By the time it reached Tulsa County it had mostly dissipated but the overall stress and tension never really eases. You know that there is still a huge trail of storms tracking this way, and that the conditions are right for any one of them to spin up another killer tornado. Knowing the worst was passed, I went upstairs to the loft and tried to play a game for a bit… but I really couldn’t enjoy myself.
Instead I ended up going to bed pretty early, of course turning on the news before doing so. It was another night I dreamed of tornados. At one point I woke up because the news had cut in, talking about another cell heading our way. Nothing however came of that, other than causing me to not sleep for a bit. I act nonchalant about living in Tornado Alley, and most nights are not that bad… but when you have a night of mega activity it takes its toll. Sunday night had pretty much absorbed my buffer of cool, and by the time last night rolled around I was left with nothing but frayed nerves.
Right now I know that our state family in Oklahoma City is going to need a lot of help. That is one of the truly amazing things about living here, when something goes wrong people come out of the woodwork with support. It happened with the Joplin Tornado, it happened in 1999 for Moore, and I am sure it will happen again this time around. While last year was the first time I had ever been directly effected by a Tornado, when one hit my Grandfathers property… we grow up with this concept so deeply embedded in our psyche. That nature is dangerous, and that we have to band together when she causes destruction.
If you live in Oklahoma, I am sure there will be local churches or civic groups organizing assistance for the Tornado. I remember for Joplin, it was a local real estate agent that chartered a freight truck and piled it full of donations of water, diapers, clothing, blankets etc. I am sure over the next few days, when one of those happens I will be bringing it a jeep load of stuff to help out. In the meantime, the best way to support tornado relief is almost always the Red Cross. They are on the front line, and right now have a fleet of vehicles in Oklahoma City ready to launch at daybreak.
For news on how you can help, you can always follow the Oklahoma Red Cross Twitter. The easiest way to donate money is to text in your donation… $10 at a time, by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999. I am sure Red Cross will be posting more details on the Oklahoma region homepage as they get them. I personally will be watching Newson6.com for any information and their sister channel News9.com. When something like this happens in Oklahoma or the surrounding area, they pool their resources giving them access to two helicopters, and an army of reporters to get the news out.
The Next Thing
Right now I still feel a bit shell shocked from last night. I could write about games and things like that if I forced it… but the entire point of this experiment was to be more honest and open. Right now the only thing on my mind is the outbreak of twisters from the last two nights, and what I can do to help out. I am sure tomorrow I will return to talking about other things… but today it just feels wrong to do so. I need to wrap this up and head into to work. I am glad we were safe, and my parents narrowly missed one of the Tornadoes. I hope everyone out there is safe and sound, and has a good day. Additionally I really hope we do not have a repeat tonight, because my nerves cannot take a third night in a row. I was able to stay calm and cool during the first night, last night I was stressed beyond reason, and if it happens again tonight… I will likely degrade into a basket case. Here is hoping we have a glorious day with no more storms.