Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wild Day in Oklahoma

Nearly six years ago the first blog post I ever made was a list stating "you know you're from Oklahoma if". Among the list was this:

"A tornado warning siren is your signal to go out in the yard and look for a funnel."

While this this almost always true, yesterday was an exception to the rule, for me anyways. There were so many storms in the metro area yesterday that I felt compelled to travel to my parents house who have an underground shelter. Several tornados were reported to touch down in areas around Oklahoma City killing several people and injuring many more. Luckily the storms didn't hit any heavily populated areas. Still it was a little scary and reminiscent of the May 3rd tornados of 1999.

I once had a friend who lives in another part of the country ask my how we can deal with this kind of weather during the spring with the potential of such a destructive force sometimes out of the blue. Most Oklahomans have dealt with the threat of tornados their whole lives and we're accustom to watching the weather particularly during the spring, not to mention we have a state of the art early warning system and a weather news force that just loves to break in to TV and radio programming, sometimes it seems when it isn't necessary.

It wasn't so long ago that early warning systems weren't very reliable or science didn't understand how tornados worked. My father tells me that when he was a child people believed that his town of Woodward, Oklahoma couldn't be hit easily by this kind of weather because a river was so close to town and everyone knew a tornado couldn't cross water! He and his family was fortunate to survive the Woodward tornado of 1947 while they attended the theatre downtown. 107 people lost their lives that night in this one town alone with a destruction of 100 city blocks.

If you think about it, though, all areas of the country have their dangers. In the far north and northeast the winters can be bitterly cold. In the far south and southeast one has to contend with hurricanes from time to time. In the west an earthquake can be quite a scary experience I would imagine. Most areas also have times when they are subject to extreme flooding, ice or snow storms, and drought.

What I'd like to hear back from any readers out there is what is your most harrowing encounter with Mother Nature or a natural disaster? Luckily for me the worst I've ever experienced is the threat of an impending tornado but I was always fortunate enough to miss the storm or be in close proximity to a basement or shelter.

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