Tornadoes wipe out whole parts of towns.

You must have seen the headlines, or on the TV news, about the series of tornadoes that have struck the American midwest and south this season.

Some people are pointing back to 60 or 90 years ago for a comparison. I think the most recent one was something that was called Super Outbreak in April 1974, which I remember seeing about as a kid. I guess they now apply “Super Outbreak” to this season’s huge number of twisters.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania gets tornadoes—believe it or not. But they are the EF-0 and EF-1 types. Not the kinds knocking out Joplin, Missouri, or places outside of Oklahoma City.

They say that the technology to track these is getting better; but, I have a feeling its no different than the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March: there is only so much warning, and only so much that people can do in time.

It’s surprising that a safe room isn’t a zoning requirement in every house built in the Midwest. The advice that the authorities give is for people to go to their basements or even bathtubs. But it turns out that, in the bad ones, even those efforts mean the people end up dead. You’d think, though, that there would be relatively inexpensive measures to help people against a threat that has existed in the place for millennia.

You know that in this “Tea Party” era, I am for government. I think government does a lot of good things. It wouldn’t surprise me if the people in states affected by these tornadoes, as well as the Mississippi River flooding, look to the government to help them back on their feet. The federal government, through the auspices of the Democratic Party mostly–but sometimes the Republicans—helped that region of America for over 200 years. A lot of the land the people settled on was just given away. And when the farm communities were laid low in the Great Depression, Washington did something about it.

So hopefully, Washington will be there with the checkbook for the communities that got hit hard. It’s just, I hope the people remember where it’s coming from.

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One comment

  1. K · May 25, 2011

    Having lived near two tornado alleys (Plainfield IL and Denver International Airport), instructions were always to go down to the NW corner of the basement with a flashlight and battery powered radio.

    If an area gets hammered by an EF5*(the highest level on the Fujita scale, developed in Chicago) tornado, there really aren’t any safe places.

    *Most powerful on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, based on the work of
    Tetsuya Fujita at University of Chicago

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