What if it happened here?
The events in Moore, Okla., Monday reminds us all of the fury and destruction nature can muster.
As of Tuesday afternoon, rescue workers say at least 24 people were killed when the massive twister hit the Oklahoma City suburb. The number is expected to rise as the days go by. Particularly tragic is the death of at least nine children in the storm.
The scope of destruction is almost unimaginable.
Oklahoma is far more susceptible to tornados than Michigan or the U.P. In fact, weather emergencies in the U.P, are more likely to be associated with blizzards and several feet of snow – not tornados.
Tornados do happen here though – even in Delta County. Some residents may remember the tornado that hit the Gladstone area in July of 1992 and caused minor damage. In more recent years, a tornado went through the Iron Mountain area and knocked out electrical power there for several days.
Although rare, tornados are a reality in the state. In fact, a tornado in downstate Flint in 1953 killed 116 people. That tragedy holds the record for the second highest tornado death toll since modern tornado record keeping began in 1950.
In light of what happened in Moore, we should all take a minute to think about what we would do if a tornado threatened the local area. Do you know what to do? Do you have the supplies to keep yourself and your family safe?
– Experts suggest making a “storm kit” consisting of a first aid supplies, water, radio, flashlight and spare batteries.
– Keep tuned to weather reports and listen for warnings.
– When a tornado warning is issued, get to a safe place. If you are at home go to a basement, away from windows. If you don’t have a basement or can’t get to one, go to a small room – a closet, bathroom or hallway – near the center of the lowest floor and stay there. Crouch down and cover up.
– If you are outside, get low and stay there. If you see a sturdy building nearby, head into the basement. Barring that, find a ditch or low-lying area and lie in it, face down. If there’s no low-lying area nearby, get away from trees, lie flat on the ground with your face down and protect the back of your head with your arms. Whatever you do, get away from your car, since it may become a wind-hurled projectile.
Delta, Schoolcraft and Menominee counties get severe weather every summer. Fortunately, storms that have hit here are rare and have only caused minor damage. Knowing what to do should the worst happen, however, is the smart thing to do.