Tornadoes, technology, and hometowns
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.