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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Massive Damage In Oklahoma

Today, we were hit with numerous tornadoes across Oklahoma. I have only seen and heard about the damage on the television, I haven't ventured out yet to see first hand the damage that has been done in my city.

What is surprising is that they are saying there was quite a bit of damage done here in Norman, but I haven't seen any in the few blocks close to my house in the Central north part of the city. Yet, about 2 miles away, where the National Weather Service building is located, they are saying that they lost many windows. I am not sure if it was from an actual tornado or just the 100+ mph straight line winds or outflow winds that were created which caused the damage. I'll have to venture out tomorrow and see what I can see.

So far, most of the damage I've seen on the television has been south and west of us down off I-35 and Hwy 9 and also north and east of us out towards Lake Thunderbird.

Luckily I have an underground shelter, which my neighbor and I went to as the sirens began going off. It was interesting in that I was watching television and they were talking about a storm forming down to the south and west of us and then almost instantaneously they stated a tornado warning issued for Norman and the next thing our sirens were going off. It was a good thing that I had already gotten my animals into their carriers and taken down to the shelter because once the sirens went off, it was just minutes to get us humans down into the shelter and safety.

We listened to the weather radio, that I had taken down with us, as the wind and rain pelted the door of the shelter. I kept listening for the "sound of a train" that everyone says you usually hear as a tornado roars through, but I didn't hear any sounds like that. But of course with the continual sound of the siren along with the wind driven rain it made it difficult to hear anything that might have sounded like a train going through.

Finally there was silence, no more sirens, no more rain and no more wind. I listened to the radio to see if they would announce that we were now in the clear but they were too busy announcing warnings for other areas. We continued to stay in the shelter for awhile longer and then I ventured out and went and checked the television to see if I could determine if we were now in the clear. It appeared that we were so I had my neighbor come on up out of the shelter and I started making us some ice tea. Before I could even get the tea made, our sirens went off again. We looked at the television and weren't able to tell if they had another sighting or if perhaps that siren was the "all clear" siren. We decided not to take any chances after having seen some of the video of the recent destruction in our area. So back down to the shelter we went again. This time we were down there about 30 minutes before I once again ventured out to check the situation. The weatherman was saying that all of Central Oklahoma was now clear and the storms were moving East into Arkansas traveling at about 60 mph and would be totally out of the state soon.

This was the first storm of the season and they are saying there were somewhere between 25-35 tornadoes that touched down in many communities in Oklahoma. This is more than we normally have in an entire tornado season per year. There are massive power outages, with the big metal towers down as well as telephone poles which have been snapped off at their bases. First estimates are that most of the twisters were between F3 & F4 strengths as they uprooted trees, flipped large tractor trailer rigs, destroyed homes and snuffed out five lives.

We are due to have more storms come Wednesday and Thursday. Please say some prayers as we begin the massive cleanup ahead of us and those who lost loved ones are able to lay them to rest and have some time to grieve.

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