I think my grandma was a good example of how to react to a bad storm. In 1999 there was a really big storm that took out Moore (yep, same Moore) and kept whooping everything in its path. It had started in central Oklahoma and was now on it's way towards my hometown.
I called my grandmother's house and said, "Grandma! A big tornado is coming! You gotta go get in a closet or the bathtub or something!"
She calmly replied with her killer southern accent, "Well... you think so? Oh-I think Bill and I are just going to set right here and watch the news until we think we ought to move."
I wailed, "But, Grandma, this one is bad. It's been taking out everything it touches. It's coming right for you guys!" I could hear the tornado siren in her background. I was really scared for her.
Again, she scolded me, "Oh now... no tornada can keep-a-going for that long."
This had been one of those freakishly big and very deadly tornados that didn't seem to be following the rules at all. So naturally (for me) I got all bossy and all but demanded that she and Grampa Bill go get in the hall closet, a bathtub, something.
She laughed at me this time and said, "Well.. if I go and do that I won't be able to hear the man on the TV. If it passes and I've gone and gotten myself all stuffed up in that closet, how am I gonna' get back out? "
I couldn't argue with that. I hadn't taken into consideration the fact that these two 90 year olds would be stuck in a closet. If they did get in the closet it had better be a sure thing, otherwise I would feel terrible if they went and got themselves all "stuffed up" in there and couldn't hear the news well enough to know when the danger had passed.
Grandma was right, that massive tornado fizzled out before it got much farther. They would have been "all stuffed up" in a closet for nothing if they had listened to me. My point is, Grandma and Grandpa Bill weren't new to this. They had lived in Oklahoma all their lives. They probably have seen enough tornados throughout their lives to know when to get serious. I think they also knew that if it was going to be really bad that a closet wouldn't really do them much good. Frankly, if I were to live in Oklahoma ever again I would hope that I would have a house with a storm cellar (called "fraidy holes" in Okla).
I think we had Doppler radar back in those days but I'm not sure. We also had the emergency weather broadcast "bleeeeps". Then, finally, in the mid/late 80's our little town got Tornado Sirens installed. That was one thing that actually did give me some peace of mind.
After you've been through or experienced the after math of a tornado I think it just takes a while to realize that tornados aren't dropping out of the sky with no warning. They are fairly predictable, especially with the technology we have now. We know the factors that create these storms and there are tools being used all day/every day to pick up on atmospheric changes. Getting educated on the details reduces the fear a lot.
I decided to learn more about super cells right after that May, 1999 storm happened. We lived in Oklahoma at the time and I was the mom of two kids. Our oldest was four or five and was aware of tornadoes because we had to jump into a neighbors storm cellar one night. It was pretty creepy and she wanted out of there. We had to keep telling her that we had to wait until the storm stopped. I totally lied and told her not to worry that are we are safe "in here". I decided if I was going to live there then I had to beat back the fears as much as I could, especially since I was driving along some of the more notorious Tornado Alley roadways when I went to visit family. From that moment in the neighbor's storm cellar I decided I had to start learning asap. I enrolled in a night class at a local college, I took Physical Science and learned quite a bit about the weather. Nowadays, I'm a bit of a weather junkie. I take notice when there is a serious cloud forming. I can sometimes even see where updraft is occurring. Not all updrafts are visible though. Not all clouds or big storms are waiting to demolish your house, either. Getting educated helped a lot.
Here is my way of coping with inclement weather:
Moore Oklahoma, May 2013, F5 tornado. This funnel cloud is HUGE and was
reported to be as big as a 1.5 miles wide at some points. Winds were between
200 to 300 mph. This is not a typical storm. Thank goodness F5's are rare.
The kids and families who have had their lives demolished by these recent tornados are surely struggling to maintain their sanity right now. They have to be in survival mode. Yet, the hearty people of Oklahoma rally on, making progress, making jokes and are making life happen in spite of the obvious need for help.
|"Gone with the wind" - Well, that's one way to look at it I suppose! :)|