'Tis the season for ugly weather.
From Weather Channel:
- 5 confirmed fatalities in Woodward, Oklahoma; 29 people were injured in the town and the tornado was rated a preliminary EF3 by the National Weather Service
- Thousands without power in Oklahoma and Kansas
- 75 percent of Thurman, Iowa destroyed; tornado that touched down was rated EF2 (wind speeds of up to 130 mph) with a path length of about 10 miles
- Tornado that hit Wichita, KS area rated a preliminary EF3, with some of the strongest damage observed at McConnell AFB
- Ottawa/Dickinson Counties: Preliminary EF1 tornado with winds of up to 100 mph
- Red Cross is focusing food and shelter efforts to impacted areas in Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma. For shelter locations go to RedCross.org.
With many in our society screaming about government spending, it is nice to see that sometimes that spending does go to save lives. The science and technology that goes into our weather detection system may have saved countless lives on Sunday.
The tornadoes were unrelenting — more than 100 in 24 hours over a stretch of the Plains states. They tossed vehicles and ripped through homes. They drove families to their basements and whipped debris across small towns throughout the Midwest. In some areas, baseball-sized hail rained from the sky.
And yet, in a stroke that some officials have attributed to a more vigilant and persistent warning system, relatively few people were killed or injured.
As of late Sunday afternoon, the only five confirmed deaths from the weekend storms were all here in Woodward, a rural community about 140 miles from Oklahoma City. Local emergency management officials said on Sunday that children were among the victims and that there were 29 injured with ailments ranging from minor wounds to those requiring hospitalization.
Days ahead of the deadly winds there was an unusual warning that alerted residents across at least five states to the threat of “extremely dangerous” and “catastrophic” weather.
The predictions held, it seems. But the people listened.