While we can prepare for bad weather, Mother Nature makes a tough adversary. The tornado in Oklahoma has been the hot topic on the news the last couple of days, and my heart goes out to the communities that were destroyed and the families of the victims who lost their lives in the devastating storm.
According to USA Today, “A massive, mile-wide tornado with winds up to 200 mph killed at least 51 people Monday afternoon during 40 terrifying minutes of destruction across southern Oklahoma City and its suburbs. The state medical examiner's office confirmed the number of deaths and said the toll was expected to rise. Several children were among the dead, and at least 70 others were being treated at hospitals.
“Catastrophic damage was reported in Moore, where two elementary schools were destroyed, including one that took a direct hit. Several children were pulled alive from the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary, but there were no immediate reports of rescues or casualties at Briarwood Elementary, about a mile away. Three hospitals reported treating at least 120 injured, including some children rescued from the Plaza Towers school. The twister heavily damaged Moore Medical Center, ripping off its roof but causing no injuries. Staff had to relocate 30 patients to nearby Norman and another hospital.
“The preliminary rating of the tornado that hit Moore at 3:17 p.m. CT (4:17 p.m. ET) was put at EF-4, which means wind speeds from 166 to 200 mph, the National Weather Service said.”
I can’t imagine the pain these individuals are going through right now. I remember being 11 or 12 years old when a tornado passed just miles from my house. Like a big black wall, my sisters and I watched outside of the window as the twister moved in an angry, black whirl across the countryside.
That tornado struck the small farm community of Spencer, SD, killing six people, injuring 150 and destroying 90% of 195 structures within that town. The tornado left a ground track of 21 miles, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and was considered an F4 tornado on the Fujita scale.
After the storm, my parents took us for a drive to examine the shattered community. I remember seeing people out on the streets, picking up lost treasures in a sea of debris, and looking over the devastation that the tornado had created in their town. That storm is still a memorable one in South Dakota’s history, and it caused friends, neighbors and strangers to come together to rebuild the town and help the victims start their lives anew.
The same thing is needed in Oklahoma. Our thoughts, prayers, generous donations, charitable actions and volunteer hours will help rebuild, reshape and regroup the people and places that were impacted by this tornado.
My heart is in Oklahoma this week. God bless those impacted by the tornado. Do you have any reports or stories to share from Oklahoma? Share what you know in the comments section below.