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#134896 - 06/05/08 11:06 PM Regarding tornadoes
LaLine Offline

Registered: 04/15/07
Posts: 24
Loc: Utah
My sister and her family recently moved to tornado alley and she is somewhat frantic about getting her family prepared. I've never lived where tornadoes would be an issue for me and I'm at a loss as to what to help her with. I'm mostly interested in helping them prepare mentally as I've already sent her all the information I had on general preparedness. So, what do you all do to keep the family from having nightmares about tornadoes (or other natural disasters)? I'm especially interested in any information you might have on helping children cope.


#134907 - 06/06/08 01:47 AM Re: Regarding tornadoes [Re: LaLine]
jaywalke Offline

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 172
Loc: Appalachian mountains
I grew up in southern Michigan, which gets funnel clouds quite often, and I've served time (excuse me, "lived") in the flat hell that is Illinois. Once you go through the sirens a few times, the fear fades. Tornadoes are so random and contained to such small areas, it's like worrying about being struck by lightning out of a clear sky. I don't think, however, that there is a way to keep children from getting upset, if the adults around them are getting upset.

So . . .
1. Have a basement. (Living in a mobile home in tornado country is a type of gambling that does not have a good payout. The tornado death rate for mobile home dwellers is 20x higher.)
2. Have a plan. (Go to the basement room with no (or fewest) windows. Duck and cover.)
3. Drill, so it's second nature.

That's it. I have vivid memories of my mom waking my brothers and me up in the middle of the night with the call, "Tornado drill!" I caught a glimpse outside as we headed for the basement, and saw the towering storm, miles-high, coming off Lake Michigan, the sky the color of an angry bruise.

Perspective: Tornadoes are streaky things, but on average only about 60 people per year die in them. Compare that to the 40,000 per year that die in traffic accidents. 15,000 die in accidental falls. Then consider that traffic accidents pale in comparison to heart attack, cancer, and stroke, which take hundreds of thousands of people every year. So, eat healthy and hug your kids. Death from the sky is nothing . . .

Basically, this is an irrational fear. Hard to combat. Information and practice are the only way to get past it.

Edited by jaywalke (06/06/08 01:59 AM)

#134914 - 06/06/08 02:14 AM Re: Regarding tornadoes [Re: jaywalke]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2002
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
That is true, the toll on human lives is very small compared to the other damage a tornado causes. In 1994 an F4 ripped through historic Lancaster Texas, taking out entire neighborhoods, destroying historic homes and buildings. While you and your family are safe, your house and town are gone.

Jeanette Isabelle
"Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble." -- Frederick Henry Royce

#134921 - 06/06/08 02:38 AM Re: Regarding tornadoes [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
jaywalke Offline

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 172
Loc: Appalachian mountains
Towns can be rebuilt. Every structure in the US (aside from those in Chaco Canyon) is relatively young.

Things are just that: things. Beyond basic shelter and food, they only have the value, or lack thereof, that we place upon them.

The town where I went to college had everything above the ground floor on Main Street ripped off in a tornado. Two years later, you couldn't tell the difference.

Edited by jaywalke (06/06/08 02:41 AM)

#134926 - 06/06/08 03:19 AM Re: Regarding tornadoes [Re: LaLine]
JCWohlschlag Offline
Some guy who wandered in…
Old Hand

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 724
Loc: Dallas, Pennsylvania, United S...
Probably another good priority to ease the anxiety would be to purchase one of the SAME-equipped NOAA weather radio that will give warning when a severe thunderstorm/tornado watch/warning is alerted. With tornadoes, warning time and quick, decisive action is what saves lives.
“Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee. Sometimes old people hike by mistake.” — Demitri Martin

#134927 - 06/06/08 03:29 AM Re: Regarding tornadoes [Re: jaywalke]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
A tornado is a very selective storm, its not like a hurricane that is miles wide. A tornado only cuts a path that is one house wide (or at least the ones around here are like that) and can go miles not touching down. Most times when one comes through it only hits a few houses, the odds are definitely in your favor as far as not getting hit by one. I can only recall one house I have ever seen that had tornado damage and I don’t know a single person that has had one hit their home. I don’t give them much thought, I grew up with them and have no fear of them at all. In fact I use to go chase them with amateur radio friends for Skywarn.

The first thing they need to do is forget everything Hollywood has ever done on tornados. Hollywood is about entertainment, not facts. It would be a very boring movie if the tornado did not kill everything in its path and show pictures of cows flying through the air.

I would also tell them to get a weather radio and listen to it when severe weather is happening.

You can run, but you'll only die tired.

#134931 - 06/06/08 03:57 AM Re: Regarding tornadoes [Re: LaLine]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
You know, I spent my entire life (with a few years off working for my Uncle Sam) in earthquake prone CA, and think nothing of it. Tornados scare the crap out of me. Probably 'cuz you can see them coming. When I was in Panama we had waterspouts form off of the south coast daily; they always broke and went back up into the cloud when they hit the coast, and they still scared me, each and every one of them...

#134938 - 06/06/08 10:58 AM Re: Regarding tornadoes [Re: jaywalke]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 788
Loc: wellington, fl
"[quote=jaywalke] and I've served time (excuse me, "lived") in the flat hell that is Illinois. "

Hey now-some of IL is not that flat. And anyway, it's not the topography that make it hell, it's the folks who live there-the Illinoisy, Illannoying, Illegitimate, Illinoisome. And it's not their fault-what can be expected of folks who live in a state called ILL.
Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

#134942 - 06/06/08 12:23 PM Re: Regarding tornadoes [Re: nursemike]
jaywalke Offline

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 172
Loc: Appalachian mountains
Originally Posted By: nursemike
Hey now-some of IL is not that flat.

Ha! I lived in Normal (which isn't), where the highest point in town is the overpass. You can see the curvature of the earth on the horizon. Southern Illinois has a few hills, but still not enough for me. There's a reason the mound-builders in the area seemed to worship hills.

#134991 - 06/06/08 05:19 PM Re: Regarding tornadoes [Re: jaywalke]
Hghvlocity Offline

Registered: 01/12/05
Posts: 248
Loc: Oklahoma
I have lived in Oklahoma all my life..and have yet to see a tornado.

Let' talk about the kids for a moment..someone made a good point in an earlier post..it's all about the attitude that the parents show.

For example, last night, we had 70 mph straight line winds come through Tulsa. Of course my daughter is right by my side, (and I really wouldn't have it any other way). She always asks if there is a chance of tornados...I'm honest, yet with some humor. Last night I responded yeah there's a chance..just like everyday there's a chance that you will make your bed.

She always watches the weather with me and I take that opportunity to instruct. Kids take their ques from the parents. If you act like it's no big deal...it will be no big deal.

I grabbed a flashlight before plopping on the couch and she started to get that worried look. I explaind that I would much rather have it by..if the power happened to go out...then stumble around the living room getting to it. I explained that it's always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. She went and got her mini-mag.

Get busy living...or get busy dying!

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