Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oklahoma Wind - May 24, 2011

The local forecasters had earlier predicted that Oklahoma would see an outbreak of tornadoes on Tuesday, and I woke with an uneasy feeling that morning. My mother spent the day with Susan and me; not that we have a storm shelter or safe room, but I guess she thought our house offered better protection. Suz and I moved a mattress from the bed to the hallway, which is the center of the house, in preparation for what may come, and I retrieved the motorcycle helmets from the garage. I grew up in Oklahoma and have always been aware of its association with spring tornadoes, but it seems to me that every year they have increased in number and intensity. We were fortunate; much more fortunate than others. Perhaps it's time to heed the warning and invest in an underground shelter.

For our friends and relatives not familiar with Oklahoma's wind (tornadoes), the following photographs reflect what Susan and I discovered when we went to check on the condition of our truck and 5th wheel in Newcastle, Oklahoma. We heard that the area was struck by one of the many twisters, but we had no idea of the magnitude of destruction until we viewed it first-hand.

The above pictures are the remains of RVs that took a direct hit from the storm. The following photo reflects the mangled metal cover and channel iron frame that covered our neighbors' property. The cover was pulled from its concrete footings and tossed across Highway 62. Thankfully, we've heard no reports of injuries sustained to any motorists along Highway 62 during the storm.

The following pictures are of adjacent buildings, including the RV Storage office.

Our truck and 5th wheel are parked approximately 100 yards west of the above building. The cyclonic winds, which generally blow in a counter-clockwise motion, shredded the insulation from the office building and threaded it through the fins in the truck's grill and radiator. It's difficult to depict in the photo, but the front of the 5th wheel is also littered with debris from the building.

We lost at least nine Oklahomans to tornadoes on May 24, 2011. A 3-year old boy was ripped from his mother's arms as she laid in the bathtub trying to protect her children. As of this writing, the child has not been found. These storms are violent and deadly. Warnings should be taken seriously! To our fellow RVers, I'm sure you are well aware of the danger in attempting to ride out a tornado warning in an RV. Always seek a secure shelter, preferably underground. According to meteorologists, the largest of the tornadoes occurring in Oklahoma on May 24 registered an EF-4 or EF-5, which is the largest and most violent on the scale. The Newcastle tornado, which caused the damage in the above pictures, was not that large. But note the severity of the damage it caused. RVing is a fun and healthy recreational activity, but we must put safety first.

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