Monday, May 20, 2013

Massive Tornado in Oklahoma City Area

  
A woman finds a kitten among the devastation.

 
     I do a lot of talking about the importance of planning for man-made and natural disasters. Heck, I even wrote a book about it, and I direct people to that book, as often as I can, and when there is unexpected loss, to my other book as well.   I talk a lot about the importance of being able to evacuate and the importance of being organized to shelter in place, and most of the time, these strategies save lives and often our pets and our property as well.
             Today after a day of scattered tornadoes yesterday the Oklahoma City region was hammered by a very rapidly occurring mile wide tornado which has been determined to have brought winds over 200 mph.   Entire subdivisions are reduced to matchsticks. Cars from a mile away sit where a living room once was.  The Orr Farm lost 75-100 horses in the tornado.   An elementary school took a direct hit, as did a high school, and a hospital.   The National Guard is on their way to the area.  As of this moment we have no idea how many people have been injured, or how many people have been killed.
              As human beings there are many things we can do to help us prepare for, and endure storms.  However, nature is a powerful force.  A storm as large as this, and one which formed so quickly depriving families and schools even from entering the safest areas or structures in preparation, is something that any amount of preparation cannot make tolerable.    In this life we must do all we can to protect our families.  We need shelters and supplies whenever we reside in a place which has tornadoes. We need a good plan for such occurrences.  However, when we are hit with something so devastating, all we can do is help others when we are able and pray to God for strength, support, and His grace.
             Please join me as I send a prayer to the good people of Oklahoma City and anyone adversely impacted by these tornadoes.


               Heavenly Father,


               Please be with and help those who have experienced the Oklahoma City tornadoes.

               Please help the first responders to find those who are trapped in rubble.

               Help the parents comfort their children.

               Guide the surviving pets to find their owners and their families.

               Please Lord, have the right doctors and nurses with the right words waiting for these  frightened people.  Help them to feel your grace and your love in the face of this tragedy and it's challenges. Help our leaders to make the best decisions.  May this tragedy bring out the best in all these people.  

 

 In Jesus name we pray.

               Amen.

 

We are especially concerned about our friend Sandy and her family, and our friend John and his family, as well, who live in tornado ravaged areas.
(Sandy and her family are outside the 30 square miles of devastation, and they are alright, despite the fact that this happened very near where her son works.)


     Thank you all.



Update:  As of May 21st, Oklahoma City officials noted that they had found a number of people in shelters and they revised their figures of the dead to be 24, 7 of those children.    Of course to the families who have lost members this remains devastating.  However, it is joyous to think that fewer people perished in this F4/F5 tornado than was originally believed.


24 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

Amen.

BBC said...

Even though I'm a card carrying 'minister' I don't pray, stuff happened, it's always been happening. Nothing is going to change in that respect.

Some that died didn't have to, it's just that simple. Live in that area and you had better have a hole to hide in for a hour.

The news makes a big deal out of every frigging event anymore. So maybe a 100 people will die, out of 300 million. Not much point in getting worked up over that.

Besides, I'm omnipresent.....

JaneofVirginia said...

My life has never been easy, and I have known terrible losses. I am one of those God fearing women that our grandparents used to talk about. Consequently, I pray multiple times daily, even when others don't know it. I can imagine those who have lost a child suddenly, because I have. I can only imagine what having lost everything is like. I have compassion for these people, and it doesn't matter to me what percentage of the world, or of the planet they are.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks, Gorges. You and your family are in my prayers as well.

Linda said...

I agree with BBC on the prayer thing. However, Jane, the one you lost cannot be measured against those who survived around the world. Your loss was the world to you. I really feel for you and all the parents who lost children or other loved ones in this tornadic event and all other horrors that take children.

Even when I do not hold the same ideologies with a person, I do hold their grief as legitimate and personal.

city said...

thanks for share..

JaneofVirginia said...

One of the strength of our country is that we can have our differing ways of managing and sustaining our survival in this life, and this is ok. I have never needed to be surrounded with "people just like me". I think it's important to embrace everyone. We have a richer life, and learn much more on our journeys this way.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks for posting, City. Come back soon.

BBC said...

Grief is personal... Have had my share of it in 69 years, but seem to have become accepting of it (everything) with age, maybe because I've seen and experienced so much. Or maybe because I can look at my own life and see that it's been much better than others.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, and I think that although we can have compassion, we cannot take on the grief of others because then we cease to be effective in whatever role we have chosen. I am glad it's been a good life.

DFW said...

Thank you Jane.

JaneofVirginia said...

I hope you have a shelter for your precious little daughter and family !

BBC said...

Looks like they have lowered the toll numbers. It’s a bit surprising to me that more lives wasn’t lost. You can’t grieve for everyone else, it would tear you apart. Grief on the internut is a joke anyway, it’s forgotten as soon as they click away from that site.

JaneofVirginia said...

What a blessing that more lives weren't lost. I heard on NPR radio as I was mucking stalls this morning, that a thirty square mile area is devastated.

David said...

I wonder if there isn't a better way to shelter our kids in schools located in tornado prone areas, like building them with basements or specially reinforced safe areas in the middle of the buildings. There may be no good solution in the case of a direct hit from an EF5 tornado, but yesterday proved that the old "duck and cover" routine just isn't good enough.

Also I hear that some safety experts are rethinking the advice of not trying to drive away from a tornado. Your best bet is always to find a basement or storm shelter if possible, but for some of us who live in mobile homes or homes without basements or strong interior walls, you might be better off getting you and your family into the car and driving out of the way. Obviously risky, as you must have a good idea of the location and probable path of the tornado (which technology has made it a lot easier to determine", and you run the risk of getting hung up in traffic or inadvertently driving right into the path of it. But as one Weather Channel reporter pointed out, staying above ground in a closet or bathtub during yesterday's tornado was virtually guaranteed death, and for those that had no access to underground shelter, simply getting out of the way was a better option.

BBC said...

I do think that schools in those areas should have storm shelters in them. They don't have to be big and fancy, you only have to hide from storms like those for maybe an hour.

JaneofVirginia said...

David,
It turns out that two of the schools which were directly hit did have basements, and this is why children survived who were originally reported as lost.
You raise important questions. About nine years ago, a couple in the next county from here saw dark skies. Here in Virginia we get into weather patterns where it can be very hot and humid and then we have a daily severe thunderstorm with lightning. Sometimes we have a tornado, especially if a cold weather system is entering the mix. We have tornado watches constantly in the Summer, and tornado warnings fairly frequently also. It would be impossible to hide in a shelter every time there was a warning, and often these warnings occur in the afternoon when people are returning from work or when children are getting off the school bus. The couple in the house and their infant and small child were killed instantly when a tornado crossed the street, turned their home to matchsticks, and left their neighbors with no sign of damage.
A few years later my husband and I were building a new farm, and the loss of the family in the next county was not forgotten. We chose to build bedrooms bathrooms and almost a replica house underground with thick www.superiorwalls.com The basement is rated for I believe 177 mph winds. However, before we become too comfortable, this will probably survive an F1-3 tornado which are the types we most likely see here. However, an F4 or 5 is another story. Very little can survive a direct hit from from the type of tornado which is all too common in Kansas, Oklahoma, parts of Missouri and some parts of Texas.
There are times when fleeing the area probably is the best course, but sometimes these storms appear faster than we are told, and it can be hard to gauge a storm from inside your home.
We have a simple rule at our house. A green tinted sky causes us to retreat to the family room in the basement. When the television calls the all clear, then we come out. Of course, not all tornadoes come with a green tinted sky, but enough of them do, that we have learned to pay attention.

Danial Garcia said...

Come to think of it I've heard that Oklahoma has received many such tornadoes in the past and that hospitals and schools should have some sort of basements or shelters. I think its great that you've developed your own take on when to go into the shelter. Not getting the warning for is just sad. I hope that people can receive medical attention soon enough.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks for posting, Danial. I think we've had to develop our own warning system because we live a great distance from two smaller cities, and this means that we don't always have television or radio warning us. The best we may get is an early morning warning that there may be thunderstorms in the later afternoon on a given day.
With regard to medical attention in Oklahoma City. It seems that their hospitals, nurses and physicians have been managing the high numbers of injured very well. There are things I think the rest of the country can learn from the Oklahoma City region. They have experienced domestic terror attacks and repeated tornadoes and seem to have an organized and cogent plan and systems for response.

BBC said...

Back in the old days folks kept barometers handy and if they dropped suddenly they would head for shelter.

JaneofVirginia said...

That's an excellent point. I remember that a few years ago when we built this farm, we placed an RV here so that we could be comfortable and the younger kids could do homework or watch videos while I took care of the animals who had already been moved to the new farm site.
It was quite the luxurious set up, and the kids loved it, and it came with a gorgeous barometer in the living room. I was surprised at how accurate an indicator it was of impending storms. When we moved into the house, we bought another one for the hallway of the new house.

lotta joy said...

It's sickening how I can be prepping one minute, then dragging my pants the next. These things don't happen with two weeks notification. Please visit my blog today. It will hopefully give you a good feeling.

JaneofVirginia said...

I get that ! Today I felt great until I overdid it in high humidity and heat with the horses. Then, I had symptoms an awful lot like I did when I had heat exhaustion a couple of Summers ago. Stomach cramps that would not quit !
Thanks so much for the kind words on your blog. It's good to know I am in such good company there !
Fondly,

city said...

thanks for share......