I know I normally post on Wednesday, but with the Tornado Outbreak in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, I felt it was important for me to post on this. So, tomorrow there will be no post. Why? I think you will hear all of the details about how much destruction was done, and how many people got hurt, but nobody focuses on the people that died or were injured, why, and what we can do to prepare and prevent it from happening to us. So let’s discuss lessons learned and tornado safety facts from the tornado outbreak in MayflowerAR, Vilonia AR, Quapaw OK, Louisville MS, AthensMS, RichlandMS, TupeloMS, Yazoo MS, & Faulkner County.
What do I hear in the news? People finding their pets, some guy found an award 300 feet from their home, and of course everyone that picks up a broken stick is a National Hero because they were involved in cleanup.
This is all great and makes people feel good, but it doesn’t help anyone in the future.
First, Let’s discuss the most common scenarios of the deaths from the tornado outbreak and what we could do to fix the problem. One person was in an outbuilding, which collapsed, causing him to perish. Another person died in their home due to a sudden drop (from typical storm to rotation to touchdown in minutes) and Quapaw, OK officials are wondering what they could have done differently. Most of the dead in Arkansas were killed in their homes in and around Vilonia. Many of these tornadoes during this outbreak just ripped through, moving houses off of foundation and collapsing them on top of residence. I know two of the deaths near Athens, AL were because mobile homes were struck. In Mayflower, three people died when the tornado tore a Paron home down to the foundation. I even heard of someone in a safe room dying because debris went through the door and hit them. Someone was even in probably the safest possible place in a home. They were in an internal closet space under a staircase. But many of the people in that space are now dead. There was even a freak tornado touchdown near Union City, TN that hit the Discovery Museum. No one saw it on the radar, and as meteorologists looked back at all of the signs, even with the 20/20 hindsight, they could find absolutely NO trace of a tornado… but it happened.
Beyond all of the death and immediate destruction, there are thousands of people all over the mid-west that are without power as a result of this outbreak. So what in the world can we actually learn from all of these scenarios?
It is a bad idea to be in an outbuilding during a thunderstorm at all. Tornadoes or not, outbuildings can give way during just a strong thunderstorm with straight-line winds, so don’t do this.
Also, just as important as the above lessons, if not MUCH more important, is how we react to this. Please help those that are affected by this. You know that you would want the favor returned. Take a day and go to the closest impacted location, and help with cleanup and rebuilding. If you can’t, then donate supplies or funds to those that are helping.
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