> TEOTWAWKI Blog: A Few Thoughts from the OK Tornadoes



A Few Thoughts from the OK Tornadoes

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers to those impacted by yesterday's tragic events. Red Cross and others are accepting donations to go towards the recovery/rebuilding effort.

As I'm watching the news coverage, a few thoughts have come up:
  • The value of a storm shelter or a reinforced safe room. Without one, you're really truly at the mercy of the storm and chance.
  • Have home owner's insurance! Important documents and proof of valuables (photographs, scans of receipts, etc.) stored at a safe, off-site location.
  • In an event of this magnitude, first responders may be hours away. Help will come, eventually, but you need to be able to address immediate medical needs on your own.
  • "It happened SO fast" is what we're hearing--about 15 minutes from the storm forming to when it started tearing up the town. Fifteen minutes is not much time. And no one expected a 2-mile wide F4 tornado. Could you bail out and escape the path of the storm by vehicle? Potentially, if you knew the storm's direction of travel and got out fast enough. Run to school, grab your kids and then hit the road? Much less likely.
  • Have a place to go if your home is destroyed--homes of family or friends--plus a tent or camper large enough for the entire family.
  • The value (again) of diversification--most of us have everything we own in our homes. If that's destroyed, then it is a matter of starting over again from scratch--hopefully with some insurance money to help. A few bags or bins of basics and backups stored off-site would be a huge blessing.
We have family friends who went through the Tuscaloosa tornado a couple years back, and were kind enough to share their experience and learnings from that event, which you can find here. Helpful, I think. They spent several weeks living at a friend's house while they looked for a new home and waited for checks from the insurance company. Everyone was okay and life has since returned to normal. Not everyone was so fortunate.

Again, our prayers go out to the many who have lost loved ones, been injured and had their lives turned upside down by the storm.


  1. AnonymousMay 22, 2013

    I live in central Oklahoma and have not had a tornado shelter in my current home or the last 4 I have lived in. I would like one but the cost means it is on the large purchase list and will happen sometime down the road.

    The truth is that most tornados are easily avoided especially in Oklahoma. Anyone that said they only had 15 minutes of warning has their head buried in the sand. We knew that Sunday and Monday were going to be prime tornado days almost a week in advance. Then even the days of the tornados you know when storms form, where they are likely heading and when they actually go tornado warn. With that knowledge you can usually get yourself to safety well in advance. I did this both Sunday and Monday and have done it quite a few times in the past.

  2. AnonymousMay 22, 2013

    I agree. I've lived in Oklahoma all my life and been fortunate enough to have a shelter in most places. The "15 minute" warning they speak of is how quickly the storm went from nothing to deadly. There were warnings days in advance for people who were actively paying attention. What the weather in this state has prompted me to do is convert my daily carry bag into a storm survival type bag. In the event I'm caught in a storm or end up helping at one, I have necessities to make things more tolerable with me.