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Open Thread for discussion of Oklahoma Tornado

As I write this, it’s too early to know how extensive the destruction in Oklahoma is. Property damage is immense, but there aren’t any reliable reports of casualties yet. Hopefully all Man Boobz readers and their loved ones in the area are safe.

Use this thread to discuss the disaster, and anything else that’s been concerning you of late.

EDITED TO ADD: The death toll has now reached 51, and is expected to rise. now stands at 24.

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thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

The newest I’ve heard now is that the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at the elementary school have all been accounted for. They are still trying to dig out the kindergartners, 1st graders, and 2nd graders. It’s awful they were in the hallways but not underground. I am glad they didn’t send them home on buses, though, or it’d probably be even worse.

pecunium
9 years ago

This is why I don’t live in the midwest. I used to. I’ll visit (with the random risk that entails, sort of the same as breathing), but I won’t live there. Tornadoes sap the will from my spirit, and and the strength from my mind. They give me the willies.

It’s not the aftermath, it’s the waiting. When we moved to Calif. I was 8. The first thing I asked about the house was, “where is the storm cellar?”. Told we didn’t have one I asked, “where do you go when the tornadoes come?”. Being told they didn’t come was met with a blank stare.

The next time I felt like that was in a bunker being shelled in Iraq.

Earthquakes are fine. They have no warning. They happen, then you cope (and I’ve been in big earthquakes; 6.4s. I missed Northridge, and Loma Prieta, but I was in the Paso Robles quake, and the Big Bear, and the Whittier Narrows, and the Rose Bowl and…).

They are easier to build for too.

So much sympathy for the people who live there.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

The severe weather outbreak is still going on, so anybody in the high risk area needs to be aware at all times.

If you want to know the risk of tornadoes in your area, you can visit Greg Forbes’ TORCON page

If you have a cell phone that is able to send or receive texts, you can sign up for free weather alerts at the weather channel If that doesn’t work with your phone, then visit your local news’ meteorology page and they will probably have free text alert services, too.

If you visit the home supply section of Walmart or an electronics store, you can also buy a weather radio. That will wake you up if you are under a tornado warning in the night. Make sure to have batteries in it so it will still work during a power outage.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

@pecunium, they can build for tornadoes, but it’s just so expensive. Joplin voters barely passed the school bond to build storm shelters at our schools, and that’s after an F5 leveled six schools. So other cash strapped towns and cities in tornado alley definitely can’t get people to agree to pay for them. For individual families, shelters cost about $5,000 including installation costs, so not many people could ever afford that. It’s not like the old days when people kept food in underground cellars, and so many houses are built on slab foundations to save money. I’m really hoping the people in Moore had good shelter, but I’m afraid to know what the casualty count will be.

Sid
Sid
9 years ago

I’m in far-western Kentucky, and I’m absolutely terrified about tomorrow. Every source I’ve seen has had a different forecast, though most have put the worst of it at night. AWESOME.

cloudiah
9 years ago

Seconding what pecunium said about earthquakes being somehow less scary than tornadoes, and I’ve been through all the big earthquakes in S CA since the late 1960s. I only lived through one tornado warning when I was a kid visiting relatives in the upper midwest, and that nervous waiting part really stayed with me.

Hoping we get good news out of OKC about those schoolkids. (And everyone else, of course.)

Sid
Sid
9 years ago

They’re showing the school on NBC right now. Holy crap, it’s sickening.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

I understand how you feel, Sid. I’m refreshing the page of the Doppler radar every five minutes, and I’m texting my husband just as often to tell him to come home from work before the storms come. Pecunium is right. The waiting is the hard part. It’s the dread and impending sense of doom, of not knowing what will happen. Yes, the odds are that it won’t happen again, and yes I’ve done everything in my power to prepare, but it’s still hard to prepare mentally.

pecunium
9 years ago

bionicmommy: I know it’s expensive. I recall, ca. 1990, there was a huge tornado in Texas, took out a city block in a subdivision. The only people who were home, and survived, were the people who had built their own cellar.

I recall being told why “storm cellars” all had the door that opened to the outside, at ground level; as well as the door from in the house: so you could leave if the house had fallen down. Like I said, they make me scared in a semi-rational way. I know the specific risk is low, but my knees turn to water at the thought.

I can still recognise, “tornado sky”, and when one started to form right above the quonset huts were were outside of (summer ’93, Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri), I was as scared/nervous as I ever got at Basic Training. People shooting next to me/over my head (which included other recruits) and tossing grenades didn’t bother me as much as the (short-lived) dark nipple reaching down from the clouds, only to change its mind.

Yeah, if I were alive in an earlier age I’d be making sacrifices to the god of tornadoes.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

Okay, they just put my parent’s town in a tornado warning right now. I got a hold of them and they are headed to their basement.

KathleenB
KathleenB
9 years ago

HUGE trigger warning on this video, but if you’ve never been in a tornado and want to know what they sound like when they’re coming in, this is it.

http://www.cnn.com/video/standard.html?/video/bestoftv/2013/05/20/ksn-anchor-walk-off-tornado.ksn

When I went to college in Missouri, my friends taught me the warning signs: the sky turns mint green, it starts to hail, and you hear what sounds like an oncoming freight train. If these things happen, even if your area doesn’t get a lot of tornado-producing storms, get the fuck to shelter! Better to spend a few hours there and be wrong than caught out.

PS: twisters are terrifying, but seeing water spouts as a storm comes in over Lake Michigan is actually quite beautiful. Until the sand starts blowing hard enough to take your skin off, of course.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

We haven’t had any tornados since I’ve moved to Austin, but I’m scared shitless, because it could happen here.

My first earthquake was the Nisqually quake outside Seattle in 2001. Where I’m from, the earth does not move, that freaked me right out.

Aaliyah
9 years ago

When I was 9-years-old, I got severe lilapsophobia (irrational, excessive fear of tornadoes and hurricanes) as a result of being “teased” by some of my family members. They instilled in me the fear of a tornado killing me, my loved ones, and my cat. I found that thought so horrific that they were amused by my reaction, so they continued to bully me until I gained a fear of tornadoes so severe that it quickly became a full-fledged phobia. I still have it, although it never gets triggered these days because I now live in California, which pretty much never gets tornadoes.

Anyway, in my childhood, no one did anything to help me get rid of it, so I did my best to learn as much as I could about tornadogenesis and various safety tips. I did all of this in order to not only cope with my phobia, but also educate pretty much every single person I knew. I always tried to conduct safety drills around the house. But ultimately my attempts to educate everyone about surviving a tornadic storm ended in frustration because all I got in response were remarks like “Oh, you’re such a little genius – I’m proud of you!” and sometimes remarks like “Be quiet – stop overreacting!”

So hearing about this tragedy really hits home for me. Not because I have survived a tornado before, but because of all the devastating losses the people of Moore, OK have experienced. The same losses I obsessed about experiencing from ages 9-14. My greatest fear then was the thought of being responsible for the death of my family members just because I wasn’t able to convince everyone to go into the storm shelter. I wonder how things would be if I really did survive a tornadic storm.

I can’t possibly fully comprehend how devastating this storm was. I hope everyone is safe, and I hope that the ones who have survived and start regaining the countless things they lost (the things they can regain, that is). And my heart goes out to anyone else who has the same phobia I have.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

bionicmommy: I hope your folks come through OK.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

@ Aaliyah

Anyway, in my childhood, no one did anything to help me get rid of it, so I did my best to learn as much as I could about tornadogenesis and various safety tips. I did all of this in order to not only cope with my phobia, but also educate pretty much every single person I knew. I always tried to conduct safety drills around the house. But ultimately my attempts to educate everyone about surviving a tornadic storm ended in frustration because all I got in response were remarks like “Oh, you’re such a little genius – I’m proud of you!” and sometimes remarks like “Be quiet – stop overreacting!”

I’m exactly the same way, I understand. I have a very bad phobia since the Joplin tornado. Nobody ever says I’m overreacting, though. I think everyone else around these parts are the same way.

My greatest fear then was the thought of being responsible for the death of my family members just because I wasn’t able to convince everyone to go into the storm shelter. I wonder how things would be if I really did survive a tornadic storm.

Once again, I’m exactly the same way. I want to know where all of my family members are at all times during storms. I won’t sleep during storms so that I can get everyone downstairs before storms. My biggest fear is one of my loved ones dying, even more than me dying.

@hellkell, luckily my dad watches The Weather Channel 24/7 because that’s part of being a senior citizen man. So I know they are up to what the weather is doing, and that they always get to their basement. I also found out my brother right now is in a storm shelter at his place of work, so I know he’s safe. Now I’m just going to hold my breath until it passes and I can get a hold of them again.

Aaliyah
9 years ago

The severe weather outbreak is still going on, so anybody in the high risk area needs to be aware at all times.

If you want to know the risk of tornadoes in your area, you can visit Greg Forbes’ TORCON page

If you have a cell phone that is able to send or receive texts, you can sign up for free weather alerts at the weather channel If that doesn’t work with your phone, then visit your local news’ meteorology page and they will probably have free text alert services, too.

If you visit the home supply section of Walmart or an electronics store, you can also buy a weather radio. That will wake you up if you are under a tornado warning in the night. Make sure to have batteries in it so it will still work during a power outage.

I also suggest that people hiding in a shelter bring with them blankets and pillows. Not only can they help protect you from debris, but they can also be helpful for other reasons.

Another good safety tip is to hide under a heavy workbench; the possibility of being crushed by heavy objects is greatly reduced by hiding under a heavy work bench. And in general, small rooms with low ceilings located on the lowest floor are the safest places to be during a tornado. Especially if those rooms have certain objects that you can hold onto just in case.

Oh, and a flashlight with batteries is essential. And a small amount of food and water can also be very important.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

And my husband came up with the same idea as me. We will find a babysitter this weekend and go to Moore, if they say they want volunteers. It is time for us to pay it forward. I’ll start calling churches to find out who is going to plan a trip.

Maude LL
Maude LL
9 years ago

I have no idea what it’s like to be in a tornado… I hope there is minimal damage. Be safe everyone.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

Those are all excellent tips, Aaliyah. I will add to wear boots during the storm, if you have time to put them on. You don’t want to be barefoot in the aftermath of a tornado, believe me. Also wear a helmet during a storm if you can. After a tornado hits, never use matches or candles because there might be gas leaks. If you can, bring your billfold or purse with you, too, so you don’t lose ID, credit cards, etc. Of course don’t bother with any of this if time is of the essence.

Andrew Johnston
9 years ago

If you can, bring your billfold or purse with you, too, so you don’t lose ID, credit cards, etc. Of course don’t bother with any of this if time is of the essence.

A portable document safe can help with this. They aren’t too expensive, and even the cheapest ones can survive fire, impact and (in most cases) water. Keep birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports, and anything personal in it – you can easily take it to the shelter or basement, and it should survive even if you forget.

Kittehserf
9 years ago

Holding all Manboobzers in the tornado zone in my thoughts! Hugs and prayers for all of you.

cloudiah
9 years ago

Thinking good thoughts for you and yours, thebionicmommy. Glad to hear they have basements and storm shelters available.

Aaliyah
9 years ago

As for pets, it’s definitely a bad idea to hold them tightly unless they’re tame and won’t try to struggle to escape your arms. Not only is it harmful to the pets (physically and psychologically), but it’s also a hazard during a tornado for obvious reasons. Putting them in some kind of cage is the best thing one can do to protect their cats, dogs, etc.

Fibinachi
Fibinachi
9 years ago

Good luck.

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