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  #1    
Old May 20th, 2013, 06:17 PM
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Story [Weather Network]

Quote:
A monstrous tornado as much as a 1.6 kilometres wide with winds up to 320 km/h roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighbourhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on two elementary schools.

...

In video of the storm, the dark funnel cloud could be seen marching slowly across the green landscape. As it churned through the community, the twister scattered shards of wood, pieces of insulation, awnings, shingles and glass all over the streets.

Volunteers and first responders raced to search the debris for survivors.

At Plaza Towers Elementary School, the storm tore off the roof, knocked down walls and turned the playground into a mass of twisted plastic and metal.

Several children were pulled alive from the rubble. Rescue workers passed the survivors down a human chain to the triage centre in the parking lot.

James Rushing, who lives across the street from the school, heard reports of the approaching tornado and ran to the school, where his 5-year-old foster son, Aiden, attends classes. Rushing believed he would be safer there.

"About two minutes after I got there, the school started coming apart,'' he said.

The students were placed in the restroom.
Absolutely devastating I hope more survivors are found and that the death toll doesn't get any higher [than the reported fifty-one (51)].

My dad was telling me about this twister about an hour ago. To my knowledge, Oklahoma is in or around the US tornado alley and thus everyone should be more aware of the risks and procedures to take during a tornado. Buildings ought to be built in a manner to prevent collapses, as well as have basements, etc. (Kind of like how nowadays, earthquake-prone areas have houses built to withstand the 'quakes). At least public buildings should be built with basements and more support to prevent widespread damage [and deaths or injuries] from tornados; even EF4s.

Yet, apparently one of the schools didn't even have a basement - kids were huddled in bathrooms instead. The school I went to here where I live (which is "tornado alley" Canada) has a basement, though, and it's easily sixty or seventy years old, making me wonder why - if over sixty years ago, schools were built with basements - this school, located in a very active tornado area of the US, didn't even have a basement, or why a new school wasn't built with a basement and this old model torn down sooner.

This could have prevented some of the injuries and deaths reported about the children in both schools (one where walls collapsed) in the very least.

It's just tragic.

x

Some questions that this storm brings up, though, are about our own knowledge and safety measures in the face of mother nature.

Code:
- Are you a survivor (or know a survivor of) an Act of God or natural disaster?
- Do you know where in a house or building you should duck and cover during a tornado?
- If you're outside, do you know where the best place to be is?
- What should you avoid being near during a powerful electrical storm or during a tornado?
- Do you have safety supplies ready for such a disaster i.e. medical kit, food supply, wind-up radio?
- Do you feel comfortable with what you know and have to be able to survive a tornado?
Of course, these same questions apply to other disasters, too, such as flooding, wild fires and hurricanes.

Knowledge is power in every situation. Prayers go out to Oklahomans affected by this EF4.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 10:45 AM
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Even though Tornado's are common, most people think 'it could never happen to me'.

Sad fact is that the only way that these people's opinions would be changed is if a tornado decides to come down right on top of their heads.

Anyway, why the school didn't have a shelter is simple - No one felt like funding the thing. They figured that since the basement was still in usable condition, their was no need to provide funding for a properly constructed storm shelter.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 11:19 AM
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Is it certain the school didn't have a basement, or that they just didn't get there in time?

I was kind of glad to hear on the news that the Representative of the area where Moore sits was one of the few Republicans who supported relief for Sandy victims back when there was a squabble of that. I'm also glad to hear that the mayor of Moore, who was mayor back in '99 when a similarly devastating tornado went through the same area, had put in place some kind of a system to help people build underground shelters. That seems to have saved lots of lives.


Regarding the questions in the first post, I've never been in or known anyone who was in a tornado, but I know how to deal with the kinds of disasters more likely to strike my area (earthquakes) like standing in a door frame or getting under a table if that's not possible. It's the kind of stuff that we all get drilled on in elementary school. I'm afraid I wouldn't know exactly what to do in a tornado if one happened since cellars and basements aren't really common on the west coast.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Anyway, why the school didn't have a shelter is simple - No one felt like funding the thing. They figured that since the basement was still in usable condition, their was no need to provide funding for a properly constructed storm shelter.
Quote:
Is it certain the school didn't have a basement, or that they just didn't get there in time?
According to this:

Quote:
Few homes in Oklahoma have basements, which means that many families instead rely on 'safe rooms' for shelter during a tornado.

Basements are rare in the state because of the damp soil, meaning water seeps into storm cellars and basements, which leads to mold and fungus. Water pressure can also build up due to the soaked soil, which puts pressure on basement walls and the concrete can eventually give way.

Much of Oklahoma is also built on bedrock, which can be hard to break down for the basement.

Neither Moore nor Oklahoma City have designated public storm shelters, and residents are told to go to their basements or storm cellars if they have them.

If they do not, they are advised to go to interior hallways and to stay away from windows.
Found here, I doubt they had a basement. It's shocking because the mid-southern US states are very active for tornado activity + in '99, a similar tornado struck the same / nearby community, yet nothing was done to install shelters or seemingly make people more aware of what to expect, do, have on-hand, etc.

If shelters had been mandated or issued after the '99 disaster, the death toll could have greatly been reduced, and the seven kids from Plaza Towers may not have died.

Whether it's EF4 or EF5 is unsure now. Here is says EF5, but TWN says EF4.

Also, seven children from Plaza Towers ES drowned because they were in the bathroom. When everything collapsed, pipes burst and kids stuck under rubble ended up being buried either under the water or drowned from rising water. It makes my tummy lurch.

This man lost 79 of his 80 horses when the barns collapsed sending the animals "flying." That'd be terrifying to see.

More Photos & Missing Children

School Photos

x

There was a tornado near Barrie one year in the '90s that ranked as one of the worst in Ontario's history. My city 20min away got a huge windstorm and we all huddled in the basement. I don't think anyone in my city died from trees being overturned (or other damage), but it really makes me thankful to have a basement.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 03:28 PM
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I hope that after this event they'll change their views on shelters and start to build some in case.
The story of the children in the bathroom drowning due to being stuck and the water rising horrifies me, those are my two worse nightmares combined. I wish their families and those of the other dead and injured, and those who lost property the best of luck in these difficult times.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 09:12 AM
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Yeah. I'd be so traumatized. Just thinking about the whole situation makes me sad and annoyed specifically that the whole thing could've been avoided if they had been proactive after the '99 disaster!

And then all the teachers who saved children from being hit with bricks + the one found under a car sheltering three kids. Teachers aren't accorded the credit they deserve. These ones should be honoured as local heroes!
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