• Thu, May 16 2013

As The Body Count From The Texas Tornados Rises, You Can Find Me Over In The Corner Crying

Texas Tornados Kill Six When I’m older, at least when my kids are safely tucked away in college (hopefully) I’m going to buy an old school bus and fill it with diapers and formula and pet food and cases of booze and when something this horrific happens I’m going to gather a mess of other old ladies and we can head down to places like Texas when tragedy strikes. You can join me, the line forms to the left. Bring extra Kleenex.

Last night several tornados hit the edge of the Dallas/Fort Worth area and six have been confirmed dead with over 100 injuries. So far over 14 people are unaccounted for, and in one subdivision alone at least 75 homes have been destroyed. From USA Today:

Hood County Judge Darrell Cockerham told CNN there were reports of houses flattened with people inside.

I have never lived through a tornado and I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it is, especially for families with children. The tornados and resulting storms brought hail the size of grapefruit to some areas.

So far at least 250 people have been left homeless. Stories like this break my heart and make me feel so helpless. I guess all we can do is keep those families in our thoughts and if anyone is able and interested, here is the link to the Red Cross in that area. I wish we did have a big old bus and we could go there and help out however we can, and I’m sure we’ll hear stories of people doing just that. It’s not only the adults and little kids that worry me, whenever natural disasters strike there are always homeless cats and dogs who are lost and injured as well. It’s all just so heartbreaking.

I wish I could do more. I’ll be thinking of the people there and I hope any of our readers who live there or have family in the area are safe and sound this morning.

(Image:Red Cross)

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  • Justme

    Tornado season can get pretty scary. I live in the DFW area – but not any part of the severely affected area.

    I never thought that much about the spring thunderstorms before I had my daughter. When I lived in my third-floor apartment that faced west towards Ft. Worth (where all the storms come in from) I would sit out on my balcony with a beer and a cigarette and watch the storms roll in – the lightning shows were amazing.

    But flash forward a few years and I was huddled in the closet under the stairs (no basements down here) nursing a newborn while the tornado sirens went off. I figured that if things got REALLY bad I would throw my daughter into the kennel with the dogs – might give her more protection than in my arms.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Um, excuse me, but this comment has just too much poetic imagrey in it.

    • Justme

      I came back here to comment on my comment that I don’t sound very sympathetic to the tornado victims. And I’m not saying that tornadoes are no big deal – because they certainly are to the people they effect – but we (as Texans) know that from the months of March until June….this is the way our weather is. We clean out the bathtubs or the closets under the stairs. We pay attention to the weather reports. We know the green means nothing and that the red means a rough night. We move our cars into the garage or under shelter so as to avoid hail damage. We hope and pray for the best. But if the worst case scenario occurs…we battle through and then help each other pick up the pieces after it’s over.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      oh now, i didn’t view it as unsympathetic at all, i thought it was a gorgeous comment, i was right there with you and I wanted to read more. Between the smoking and having a beer and watching the storms to nursing under the stairs to what you said about the dogs, I was ready to order the book. IDK it just struck me as being spookily poetic.

    • Justme

      Well, thank you. Texans have a love/hate relationship with thunderstorms and tornadoes. Up here in north Texas the land is relatively flat which makes the sky huge – from that balcony I had a front row seat to watch the storm unfold. I love the dichotomy between the beauty of the storm clouds and the destruction they can cause. My favorite part is the air before a storm hits – it’s perfectly still. No birds chirping or cars moving. It’s like the entire Earth has slowed to a stop so that people can prepare themselves for what is coming. And any Texan worth their salt knows that a purple sky means relative safety but a green sky before a storm? That’s where the danger lies. Green skies mean tornadoes are coming.

      Texas gets such a bad rap because of our penchant for small brained but incredibly handsome and smooth talking good ol’ boys but it’s home to me.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Are you a writer?

    • Justme

      You just made me blush and get butterflies.

      I am a writer in the sense that I put my thoughts onto paper (screen?) through my blog but I don’t know if I consider myself a WRITER. I just have a lot to say and my husband’s ears need a rest.

    • Jenni

      Yeah, tornados are pretty cool when you really have nothing to worry about. Here in Oklahoma we do the same thing. I remember the first tornado warning that went out after my husband and I had moved into our house; I went outside to wait for him to come home from work, talking with all the neighbors who were also outside. The nice old couple right next door to us offered to let us share their shelter if we felt the need to. The only thing that is truly scary is when the sky goes that dark green color. That always freaks me out and sends me scampering back into the house.

  • http://twitter.com/TwAlexLee Alex Lee

    I’m going to put my faith in science and say that because of better weather tracking we can give people that-much-more advanced notice to prepare and protect themselves. Still, my twitter feed seemed to blow-up so suddenly about the storms last night. Just so massive and quick.

    Small consolation to say that it could have been much worse.

    Your heart is always in the right place, you motherbusser, you.

    • Cassy

      One of the reasons tornadoes are so terrifying is that if a twister is big and/or strong enough, it doesn’t matter how much advance warning you have. It doesn’t matter what type of building you’re in, or even if you’re in a basement. Nothing can fully protect you if an EF-4 or EF-5 hits.

      Eve, I will help fill that bus.

      Horrible, horrible story. I live in tornado alley and have been affected by a tornado before, although never lost a home, or a friend or family member, to one. My heart always goes out to victims of anything, but especially tornadoes, because I know the special kind of fear and grief that happens in the aftermath.

    • Justme

      And tornadoes are different than hurricanes – at least with hurricanes you have a lot more advanced warning and typically a more predictable path. With tornadoes, I always think of that line from the movie Twister, “You’ve never seen it miss this house, and miss that house, and come after you!” That’s the unpredictable nature of tornadoes – you can’t tell exactly where they’re going to go.

    • LiteBrite

      I agree that we have better warning systems in place, but it’s still not enough. To be honest, when it comes to tornadoes, I’m not sure if we ever will have enough. Often you only have minutes to get yourself, your loved ones, and your pets to shelter, and with tornadoes, a minute makes all the difference.

      Our city sounds alarms not just in tornadoes but if weather is severe enough to produce tornadoes. Some people have complained, saying it’s confusing and overkill. I disagree. I’d much rather get myself, my kid, and my pets to shelter and have no tornado come through than ignore the warning and have something terrible happen.

      (Thankfully my area of the state doesn’t see too much tornado activity.)

    • Justme

      We have something similar in our own as well, but we are in the heart of the tornado action. But having lived here my whole life, I know when to get the closet cleaned out and the pillows thrown in. :)

    • Tea

      The “Maybe tornado” alarm does bug me, but only because I didn’t grow up in an area where it is the usual. I spent the first 16 years of my life right by Xenia, Ohio (Yes, that one.) Where a tornado siren means ” Closet, now, grab the cats and a cane if they’re on the way.” Where we kept a large emergency bag stashed, just in case the house fell in around us, or our neighbors’ did.

      Right now I live in New England, where tornadoes are very rare and the alarm and “Tornado Warning,” not “watch” is over-used, and the “Maybe” alarm just stresses me out, especially since we don’t have TV signal to verify things. I try to pull up a few sources first, and wait for -that- sound.

    • Jenni

      Yes, science and weather tracking is better now (there are storm chaser armored cars that can drive straight through a tornado now), but tornados cannot be predicted accurately. You MIGHT get a warning if the tornado touches down in a town near you and it can be reasonably predicted that it is coming your way. But, tornados can change their trajectory, and they can hop over buildings. I’ve seen the wreckage of a storm like that. And you can’t drive anywhere for safety like you can for a hurricane. It is much like an earthquake that way.

  • TngldBlue

    The scariest thing I’ve ever experienced was when a tornado tore through my town shortly after the Joplin tornado. The sirens went off, they NEVER go off in this area, and the newscaster started repeating over and over to take cover, take cover immediately, a tornado has been sighted. My poor husband was in the shower and I was screaming GET OUT, GET OUT NOW as I flew upstairs to get the kid out of bed. I moved so fast I’m sure smoke was coming from my feet. We huddled in the corner of the basement with me covering the kid and the husband and dog covering me. I was just shaking from head to toe and praying as hard as I’ve ever prayed in my life as the wind got louder and louder and the house creaked and shook. It was a good half hour after it got silent that we finally felt safe enough to venture upstairs. Thankfully our town only suffered damage and minor injuries but it still strikes fear in my heart whenever I think about it. My heart breaks for these families and their loss, I hope that they get all the help they need. I for one will be donating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

    Please don’t self dispatch to a disaster area. I know it’s tempting but it causes logistical nightmares for first responders and emergency workers! Donations of cash are good; clothing and food are NOT so good since they have to be transported and sorted and stored, etc. It overloads an already taxed system.

    • http://www.whatwouldshethink.com/ Rachelle

      Wow, Paul. Remind me to never invite you to any party other than a funeral. You have the sense of humour of a mortician.

      Screw this Eve. I’ll let my buddies at the Red Cross and Oxfam know where we’ll be and I’ll be the first on board the bus with you. Pppprrrrrrttttttt!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

      I also work in disaster response (no, I’m not involved in this one, thank god). This is part of my day job, and I have seen what happens when an area gets flooded with donations of stuff it doesn’t need, and when people show up, without any planning or as part of a trained group.

  • Texan

    I live about half an hour from Granbury(where the tornadoes touched down). Huuuuge hail. I couldn’t even see through the rain. But at least I’m not a Granbury resident. The amount of people missing is down to 7 now, but I wish it was 0.