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Tornadoes in U.S.A

BrianPK
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Tornadoes in U.S.A

Post by BrianPK » Sat May 28th, 2011, 10:58 pm

People over here in Europe are really shocked by the tv pictures of the Joplin
Missouri tornado.We just don't experience anything like that in these islands.Sure, we get severe storms which bring down a few trees and at times kill the odd unfortunate person,but the sheer devastation and loss of life in Joplin and in other ares of the U.S.A. is an eye opener for us.
I really feel desperately sorry for misfortunes whose homes have been completely flattened as well as suffering terrible injuries.I grimaced when I heard some survivors state that they had no insurance for rebuilding.Will those poor people get sufficient help from FEMA or whatever, or are they on their own and suffer a huge drop in their material quality of life?

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Sun May 29th, 2011, 6:19 pm

Thanks for your thoughts and support, Brian. FEMA should give them some help, probably not enough though. But there will be fundraisers all over the country as well. Many people from other states have gone to Joplin, MO to help in any way they can.

I read once that every continent except maybe Antarctica has tornadoes. They may not be common in Europe but they certainly could occur. Most tornados stay on the ground only a few minutes. But they are all rather unpredictable. Sometimes one side of a city block will be destroyed while the other looks untouched.

Had five tornadoes in our state last weekend. The sirens never even went off in LaCrosse. I have a sister who lives in Tornado Alley (in the Kansas section) and they actually haven't had as many close calls this year as we have. But those who live with the nearly constant threat are much better prepared, I think.

We're thankful that the Tomah tornado decided to skip us, but we had 20 minutes warning so we were as ready as we could be had it shown up. I think the local families affected did have insurance, if not the community will certainly band together to help them out. One advantage of small town life.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sun May 29th, 2011, 10:10 pm

FEMA doesnt give you enough money to rebuild. That is what insurance is for. For those who don't have insurance they can go to the Red Cross for help, and there will be donations as love said.

I've never lived through a tornado but there doesnt seem to be any rhyme no reason to the destruction they create. For instance I saw..on the news.. that an entire wall of a house was blown off, yet the clothes remained stacked in the closet...that had the wall blown off. Its weird. Glasses can remain untouched, but an entire wing of a house can be gone. Its weird.
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BrianPK
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Post by BrianPK » Sun May 29th, 2011, 10:33 pm

Good to hear that people show compassion and help out in such times.
Even if you do get a warning of an imminent tornado,what do you do to protect yourselves? Do you all have basements in which you seek shelter or do you go to underground car parks etc.Are your hotels, hospitals and public buildings built to withstand tornadoes?
It is extremely rare to hear of a tornado in these islands although I think, in England last year, one street of a town was struck by something that resembled a tornado and caused a lot of damage to cars etc but it was so isolated that people a few blocks away were unaware it had even occurred.Thankfully,the vast majority of people, over here, will go through life without ever experiencing anything worse than a severe storm.Actually our biggest gripe (and principal conversation opener) is the amount of cloud cover and rain we get. The south east of England(around London) is probably the sunniest part of these islands. When a sunny morning greets us in Ireland, the uplift in peoples spirits is very noticeable. :)
Last edited by BrianPK on Sun May 29th, 2011, 11:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Misfit » Sun May 29th, 2011, 10:42 pm

Tornados are very very rare in the Pacific Northwest where I live. We've had some pretty wicked windstorms, but nothing that could compare to the devastating effects of a tornado. There are risks just about anwhere one might live. Floods, fires (look at California), hurricanes in the east and gulf coast. I shudder what devastation we'd have if Rainier ever wakes up, and they say it will and the Lahar warningscome true.

FEMA is there to help, but like the others have said they'll need more than that. Red Cross and other agencies, plus hopefully they all have insurance.
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Post by DianeL » Sun May 29th, 2011, 11:07 pm

BrianPK, the US is subject to hurricanes and tornadoes, and the latter are stunning not only for their power, but as Divia points out, for their PINPOINT focus. A tornado is so localized it *can* damage one narrow swath and leave a sharp line, either side of which is relatively unscathed. In the case, though, of Joplin, the line of destruction was colossal. The Joplin storm was of a size and scale it was rare on that count; it was miles wide, and that is exceptionally unusual.

Ask anyone in Tuscaloosa, where a similarly catastrophic storm struck one month ago, and they will tell you: FEMA is no answer. It's a response, but not a complete one. The last shelter in Tuscaloosa closes this week, with 100 families who have nowhere to go, and no FEMA trailers to be seen. Divia's right, it's insurance you need to protect your possessions - and to recover your material lifestyle. The Red Cross and many other charities are already in force, and utilities and other entities will also be out in force, rebuilding infrastructure and cleaning up the destruction. Tuscaloosa one month out is still buried more than excavated - and Joplin may expect the same, though that destroyed hospital is now running again in tents, and has a HELIPAD again. I have a cousin in North Carolina who is always part of the teams they send to other states to restore power after events like this. Recovery comes; it's just slow, and unfortunately, probably always inadequate.

Donations from around the world, along with messages of concern, support, and prayer, will mean everything for victims, but of course the economy being what it is - and the frequency of news cycles, with so many of them being *new* disasters - may not afford as much financially as would bring the most benefit. In recent years, I've actually cultivated something of a habit of being a later donor for emergencies like this; the idea of these things being forgotten, or thrown over for shiny new tragedies, seems so terrible.


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Many people in Tornado Alley do have basements, but by no means all of them do. Not all insurance is created equal; and of course, the process and limitations of coverage can be bitter.

I live in hurricane country myself, and have been through my share of storms, though blessedly have lost little to them. Hurricanes are more "understandable" to us, in a way; it's their power and size that terrorize us, but their behavior is not so erratic and seemingly-inexplicable as a tornado's snaking path.

Where tornadoes explode, hurricanes blow down and flood. A woman died within a mile of my home a few years ago, trying to drive through a flood zone. I was made a temporary refugee while my neighborhood was literally bordered by police perimeter, to prevent any further driving fatalities happening. Right after that, on a mini vacation with my dear old dog, who weathered that all alone, we were on a boat on a river in a hurricane only one week later, and encountered a new hurricane and almost went down - in a PONTOON boat, no less.

If you're wise, you listen to weather reports, and don't go out on the river when a storm is coming. If you have one - for a tornado, you go to your basement; for a hurricane, you go to the innermost rooms wherever you are, away from windows, and preferably in a door jamb or other strong point of a structure. You maintain a water supply in a safe place, keep fresh batteries at all times, and/or use crank or battery transistor radios and flashlights, as well as canned food and a hand-crank can opener. Lots of people buy generators, and many who do are extremely generous, allowing neighbors to run long extension cords back to their homes to use the power, or simply opening their homes to those around them.

People are amazing, and neighbors are kind, and we DO pull together in times of difficulty. This year has been the most intense, already in three generations, with fatalities even those of us familiar with the destruction of these storms can hardly comprehend. I'm not a victim this time, but I'm grateful, still, for people like you asking and caring.

Do what you can beyond that; sites will be easy to find, if you have time. Even just a little is a day's meal for a family. And remembering, too, once the sensation subsides ...
Last edited by DianeL on Sun May 29th, 2011, 11:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Ludmilla » Sun May 29th, 2011, 11:13 pm

I grew up in SW MO so the pictures are very shocking, esp the before and after satellite photo. My niece who lives not far away, but in KS, tried to volunteer for one of the med crews but since she's licensed as a nurse in KS, her offer to help out wasn't accepted. Government bureaucracy is so frustrating!

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Post by Divia » Sun May 29th, 2011, 11:20 pm

Also, in some parts of the country (my clerk who used to live in Texas) said that basements can't be dug because the ground can't handle it. This is with other places in the US.

Some of those who were hit by the tornado did not have basements and many are told to go to an interior room of their house or a bathroom.
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Post by fljustice » Mon May 30th, 2011, 3:23 pm

I grew up in Ohio and once every few years a tornado would touch down, but usually not do a lot of damage, except one that wiped out several blocks of Xenia when I was a teen. We had a tornado touch down in Brooklyn (yes, that Brooklyn) two years ago. It came right over our street, causing significant damage to the trees, set down a couple of blocks away, destroying several cars and trees, skipped up again and set down in another neighborhood. We only had one death, a poor woman who had a tree fall on her car. There were no alarms and no warnings. Anyone who didn't have insurance was out of luck for property damage.

The tornado that destroyed Joplin was several orders of magnitude bigger and stronger. As to shelter, I heard about one family who buried a school bus in the side of a hill and used that as a shelter. They outfitted it with food and water, beds and chairs. The man's brother didn't have access to a school bus, so buried a van in his hill!
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Post by DianeL » Mon May 30th, 2011, 4:28 pm

The ingenuity of human survival is kind of amazing, and can be so delightfully funny too ...
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