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Hiding in the refrigerator was a smart idea. I wonder if the person who first thought of it had been inspired by the recent Indiana Jones movie, where Indy hid in a refrigerator to protect himself from an atomic bomb blast.Peter
The idea is to get as many walls between you and the wind. Bathrooms are good--generally no windows, plus, the walls are reinforced with the plumbing running through them. Same idea with the refrigerator in Joplin and the clothes dryer that little boy hid in--another layer of protection between you and the wind.Do most homes in Joplin have basements?
Did the videographers consider getting out of the car to help the victims?
Man, it's hard not to tear up when they go into that city.That's just heartbreaking.
Yea, my first instinct would be to get out and help someone, cause you know someone needs you right there and then.
My father talked about the "cyclone cellars" they had in Iowa when he was growing up before World War I. Farm families have shelters but town dwellers don't seem to be prepared.
The idea is to get as many walls between you and the wind.Not unlike the way to survive nuclear fallout: as many walls between you and the outside as possible.Peter
Impressed by the human spirit in the first vid. "Is everyone ok?" etc. What is it about horror that shows the best..and worst of people. In this case, seemed like they were all looking out for each other.
Most homes in Southwest Missouri don't have basements, especially in the Ozarks. In most of the Ozarks, solid rock is only a few feet below the surface, and often, building a basement requires the use of dynamite, which is prohibitively expensive and also not permitted in some municipalities. Also, culturally, most people here didn't grow up with basements, so it's not an important criteria when house hunting. (The houses that do have basements tend have been a) built by transplants from more basement-oriented areas or b) built into the hillsides with walkout basements.) Joplin's at the edge of the Ozark plateau, so the digging is somewhat easier than it would be, say, 50 miles east, but it's still unlikely that more than 30% of houses have basements.
What is it about horror that shows the best..and worst of people. In this case, seemed like they were all looking out for each other.We haven't yet seen the videos of people selling water for $10 per gallon. Soon enough.Peter
Media reports about warnings have been bad. CNN and GMA said that Joplin was struck without warning, yet there was a full 20 minute lead time on the tornado warning issued. As with the Alabama tornadoes, the Storm Prediction Center did an excellent job anticipating this event.Horrific thing to live through. The pictures are numbing.
75% devastation in Joplin. I don't believe Hiroshima was hit as bad.
yet there was a full 20 minute lead time on the tornado warning issued.Yet, with no alternative shelter, 20 minutes of warning is about as useless as 20 minutes of warning for a nuclear blast. Just what the hell are you going to do, if you don't have underground or reinforced shelter?At least with hurricanes, you have the lead time to evacuate. Not so with tornadoes. You either get underground or the closest thing available.
Living in Kansas after a while the tornado sirens can get annoying and you argue with yourself about whether you really want to go down to the basement, again. But we still do because you never know when you are in the path. I will say that Doppler radar has made predicting storm paths much more exact. We keep a tornado bag packed. The other night I was amazed at how many of our friends and family were posting on Facebook that they had gone to the basement.
"Hiding in the refrigerator was a smart idea."Pretty common knowledge out here. People have been hiding in the coolers during a tornado for as long as I can remember. Every tornado near here, Heston, Andover, South Wichita, there was a story of the people that rode it out in a pizza hut cooler. "75% devastation in Joplin." More like 30%. The 75% was a estimate right after the tornado went thru. Although the media continues to report it. The path was a 1/2 mile wide, 6 ,miles long. Not that 30% isnt a lot. From the tv it looks like it went right down Rangeline which is a heavy business district. I'm driving thru there Friday on my way to Eureka Springs and I wonder if I will recognize anything.
Kk is right on every point about basements in the Ozarks.Pictures from Joplin.
I don't think most of the people had a basement.On the prairie it may be smart to start building in the ground permanently. Building above ground is going to always be trouble at some point.Or build buildings that can withstand an F5 tornado. Expensive though... and the Great Plains ain't a flock with money these days. People are leaving the area like nobodies business due to farm mechanization and the like. Cities are the future.
Most haunting story heard in Joplin today:Some people noticed a man sitting in his truck. Just sitting. So they went over to ask him if he needed help. He shook his head and distantly replied, "No, no. I'm just taking my daughters home. No." The people who came over to help looked in the back of the truck. His daughters were back there as he'd said. They were both dead.
Freeman (10:15): Dear God.
I think there really needs to be an intermediate level of tornado warning. During tornado season, we live under Tornado Watches so much of the time that it's a meaningless designation. We might be under Tornado watch for 8-72 hours, during which time you can't just hunker down at home, especially because most of that time it's sunny and 80. The next stage of tornado alert is Tornado Warning, at which point the sirens go off and you've got just a few minutes to get to cover. The only intermediate warning is a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, which we get basically every time it storm, and doesn't necessarily require you to take extreme measures for safety. Just go in the house, more or less. We've been under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning here for about the last 12 hours, for example, and as long as you're indoors with your car under cover, you're pretty darn safe. What would be really helpful is some sort of Tornado Alert that says that there's a strong likelihood of a tornado (or tornado producing storm) being at your house in, say, 30 minutes to an hour. I live in a non-basemented home about 15 minutes away from my parent's house, which has tornado shelter blasted out of the bedrock, with poured concrete walls and ceiling. Yesterday, just after the storm hit Joplin, when it still looked like it was on its way here (we got a fair amount of debris, but the storm proper went to the south), my dad called me and alerted me that I should probably come over. That wasn't any sort of NWS warning, but my dad was watching the news and saw how things were going. That's the kind of warning that would be really helpful, because it would give people enough time to get to better structures - send people home from the big box stores, encourage people to head to the houses of neighbors with basements, etc. The problem with the current system is that by the time the sirens go off, for example, it's already too late for me to head to my folks house, or for people to leave Walmart, or whatever, and go someplace that would be much safer. There's got to be a way to give just a little more warning.
Here's the other thing about 20 minutes of warning: only in hindsight is it 20 minutes of warning. When the sirens go off, the tornado could be on your house in a minute or two or five or 20 or never. Once they go off, you do the best with what you have and pray real hard. As I was getting at in my last comment, if sirens going off meant you had 20 minutes, you could make meaningful improvements to your shelter situation in that time. But since you might have lots of time or you might only have seconds, you can't. Also, don't forget that, as of when the sirens go off, it's generally pitch black (or kinda green) out, raining sideways, and often hailing. Even heading across the street to the neighbor's house in those conditions is daunting.
If it's "kinda green) out, raining sideways, and often hailing" then I dont really need the sirens. All of that generally mean there are funnel clouds somewhere close by. It's the storms that develop in the middle of the night when I'm sleeping that scare the crap out of me.
That's awful, Freeman. I hear a pretty awful story about the hospital too. My coworker was talking about how hospitals are usually spared, but not this time. It takes a long time to get patients moved from their rooms, even if they're ambulatory which they often are not. I agree about Tornado Watch's being ignored but I don't see any way around that. If you live some place that gets them frequently, you are always going to screen for the most important warning. I found Twitter had very up to date information actually, and our local news is usually pretty specific about the direction the tornado's are headed and when. They give us streets and time frames.
Here's my personal public service announcement: If a tornado strikes your neighborhood, there is a good chance there will be no "warning."The non-fatal F0 tornado that blew down my street in Minneapolis two years ago (Aug. 19, 2009 -- here is my personal blog post on it, and here are a couple of damage photos) arrived with zero warning, not even a tornado watch. It was raining; the power went out; the wind kicked up and I went to close the windows; I saw lots of big debris flying around and yelled to the kids to get the basement; we were halfway down the stairs when it had gone by.My house wasn't badly damaged, but lots of my neighbors' houses were, many big trees down all over. I reflected later that with warm weather, no tornado watch, no severe storm warning, (and no lightning), my three kids had been playing outside in their raincoats only an hour before.Here's an interesting article from a Minnesota meteorologist blog discussing how they missed sending warnings for that 2009 urban tornado.
I grew up in both Tuscaloosa and Walker County, Alabama. Between those two areas, on highway 69, everybody had a storm shelter dug into the bank facing the highway in front of their houses. That is because so many tornadoes came through there, year after year. I remember sitting on my grand mother's porch in Jasper and watching a funnel cloud march across the sky. The house next door was built entirely under ground. That is because the last house built on that lot had been blown away by a tornado. I had nightmares about tornadoes sucking me out of my house when I was a little kid. People today don't realize how terrifying these storms are until it hits them.
I agree on the tornado watch/warning issues. Now that there's so much data available on the web, I've started watching more closely as the storms come across to NW Arkansas (About 75 miles S of Joplin, several warnings and a couple actual tornadoes the last week). You can pretty much tell where they'll eventually have to extend the tornado warning to as the storm cell moves across, but the threshold to go from watch to warning is just a bit too big a jump. The other issue is that the updates to the warning areas are pretty intermittent; certainly longer than the tracking technology requires.As to knowing by the wind blowing sideways and the clouds looking greenish, it depends. The storms around here tend to come after dark, so watching clouds doesn't work. And it's surprising sometimes how quickly the wind can go from calm to tornado, and how concentrated the really strong winds are. So if you wait for that, you're probably too late.
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