Tornadoes, technology, and hometowns

Pinktornado

Screenshot of tornado approaching Pink, Okla. (Credit: KWTV, Oklahoma City)

I moved away from Oklahoma City and Tornado Alley in 2005, but some days it seems like I’m still there. This afternoon I turned on CNN and was greeted with live video of a tornado funnel in Edmond, immediately north of OKC. I lived there for 10 years. One of my sisters lives there now, and one of my nephews. Gulp.

Okay, technology to the rescue. CNN was running a live feed from one of the OKC television stations. I got on the computer and pulled up the live feed from another station, the one that’s been the best with storm coverage for as long as I can remember. So I have both feeds going in front of me, switching from the sound on one to the sound on the other, depending on what I see.

I pull up Google maps, locate the funnel per the descriptions (street names, intersections, etc.), and determine that it’s passing at least a mile south and east of my sister’s house.

The storm keeps moving to the northeast and once it’s well clear of Edmond and my sister is likely out of her storm cellar, I pick up the phone and call. No answer. I leave a message. She’s probably still in the cellar.

Just to be sure, I call my other sister, who lives 10 miles south of there in north Oklahoma City. Turns out she and her family were in Edmond as the storm moved in, so they hurriedly packed up and headed home. Adding to the excitement, her son was on his way home down the turnpike from Tulsa — right through the storm’s projected path. No problem. His path and speed got him past the funnel.

There are more storms forming south and west of OKC now, near Norman. Typical May in Oklahoma. Cheap excitement for CNN. All they have to do is put the feeds from OKC on the air and take a long coffee break. About two hours so far. The OKC stations have choppers in the air, following the storms, broadcasting live coverage of funnels and storm damage, showing local radar, doing the narration, etc. Familiar, reassuring voices. Those guys really know their business.

As I write, they’ve just said the new funnel is threatening Pink. My older brother has a farm there.

Have I mentioned I’m glad I moved to Denver? Blizzards are almost fun compared to tornadoes.

I don’t mean to sound flippant. I’ve been there too many times. Homes are being destroyed. Lives are in danger. My family is safe, but these storms are going to keep moving through Oklahoma and up into Kansas and points northeast. Stay safe, everyone. Stay safe.

The stormy weather began late yesterday, when a mile-long section of power lines was knocked down along Pennsylvania Avenue in far north Oklahoma City. I drove this road to work every day for the 10 years I lived in Edmond and my house was just about a mile northeast of here.

The stormy weather began late yesterday, when a mile-long section of power lines was knocked down along Pennsylvania Avenue in far north Oklahoma City. I drove this road to work every day for the 10 years I lived in Edmond and my house was just about a mile northeast of here. (Photo: News9.com)



Categories: CNN, Computers, Internet, Media, Sci Tech, television

6 replies

  1. Good grief PT. I know an individual person’s chance of being hurt by a tornado is pretty slim, but having loved ones scattered all over the target zone has to be seriously nerve wracking. Keeping my fingers crossed for your family and every other family now in harms way! 😯

    • It was interesting to see so much familiar territory filling CNN’s time, but I wasn’t particularly worried. There’s always plenty of warning there and everyone knows what to do, where to go, etc. A direct hit, of course, would be pretty bad, but being missed by a mile, that’s a goodly margin. It had already passed my sister’s house when I turned on the TV, so it was mostly just a matter of watching some really great video of some major funnels. We were pretty well represented today though. Usually only one sibling has to duck!

  2. I give thanks that there is no extreme weather where I live. At least four separate tornadoes touched down in central Oklahoma yesterday. One person was killed and 21 injuries were reported throughout the state. I hope and pray those who were injured recover quickly and heal fully.

    • Oh dear, I didn’t hear of any deaths last night and hadn’t checked yet this morning. Frankly, I’m surprised the toll wasn’t higher, given the severity of the storms. Despite the preparations and warnings, there will always be those who don’t get the warnings or who are caught without shelter. Thanks for the good wishes.

Trackbacks

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." ~ Edmund Burke

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