For some local perspective for those watching the horrifying destruction in Moore, OK, this has been a three day weather event. We had packed for a paddling trip, but the forecast indicated it was best to hold in place. Even today conditions are still unstable enough that tornadoes are possible a bit more to the south, where we were headed. And SE. On day one, we were dead center of the high-risk area, but the cap held all day, so the storms never had a chance to go vertical.
On day two, the threat moved a bit east, but the dry line was still just west of us, leaving us under a slightly reduced threat. We went to Enid for our grand-daughter’s dance recital. We were anxious to get back, as the threat included the risk of hail of tennis ball and baseball size, with occasional potential grapefruit-sized hail stones. As we came back home, we could see the storms going vertical just SE of us. As soon as we turned on the TV, we learned of the tornadoes touching down in Shawnee.
On day three, a cold front was driving the system just a bit more SE. Then, the storm went through Moore. The storm was so devastating, that nothing was left. Even the grass was ripped out of the ground. The death toll was 51 when we went to bed last night, but 91 this morning, however the situation is still so fluid, that they caution that the toll may be lower, closer to 24, since in the confusion some victims may have been counted twice. The area of destruction was 30 square miles, and identifiable items from Moore were found falling in Branson, MO, 300 miles away. The good news was that 100 people had been pulled alive from the wreckage overnight. The search will continue today, with the school still being searched for missing children.
For readers in the local area, we just returned from the firehouse, and donations are being accepted at door 10 at the rear of the firehouse, in the alley between the fire bays and the civic center. They are looking for bottled water, sunscreen, Gatorade, wipes or hand-towels, diapers, baby formula, individually wrapped snacks, leather work gloves non-perishable foodstuffs, and shovels. Since they do not want people driving to Oklahoma City or Moore, they will collect the items and make arrangements to move everything in one vehicle. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims of this disaster.