"We Need More Warnings"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, May 24, 2013

Does it seem we are experiencing more major weather phenomenons around the world than ever before? Not only do we have more storms; they are record storms of all kinds.

As I write today, our area is on the lookout for thunderstorms with high winds, rain and perhaps severe hail. This storm is said to be connected to the disturbance that came out of the Gulf and demolished areas in Texas last week.

The storm has been relentless, traveling north, northeast and on Tuesday again displayed its huge strength. It produced one of the largest tornados, (F-5) ever recorded in Worth, Oklahoma. As many of us watched via TV news stations, the mile wide, 17-mile long storm destroyed everything in its path: homes, schools and a hospital. In just minutes, lives were taken; heroes and heroines were born, and the world as it was known to the residents of Worth forever changed.

I was amazed as everyone watching must have been by the tales of unselfish acts of lifesaving by the teachers of the elementary schools. With no regard for their own safety, they quickly reacted to protect their students from harm. They led them into closets and storerooms, instructing them to sit on the floor, put their heads down with their hands or books over them.

One youngster reported watching the storm suck glasses off the face of kids as the teachers held them down. Many reports were heard of teachers lying on top of their kids to protect them. A woman, with blood streaming down her face, emerged from the rubble hugging a little girl and crying. A reporter asked if her daughter was OK and she said, “It’s my student, and yes she’s safe.”

We must all be aware; many teachers love their students as if they were their own children. They are not taught that in college.

The outpouring of first responders; police, firefighters, EMS and many other volunteers restored everyone’s faith in their fellow men and women.

As I see it, we have found ways to recover from hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, floods and other devastating weather events. Why can’t we find a way to alert people sooner than 15 minutes about what’s coming? Why can’t architects and engineers design and build structures, intended to house children, include shelters?

Severity of the storms we are experiencing should dictate that any buildings, especially schools and hospitals, have shelter areas so a 15 minute warning could be enough to allow people to reach a safe haven.

Back in the 1950s during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Nike sights were a norm. Many schools and other public buildings were built with shelters beneath them. In the schools, drills were held and students marched down to the structures. Some of them are still scattered around Huron County but no longer available to the public. Many individuals had such facilities in their homes or yards. Now they are used to store produce (root cellars) and other items, but they may still serve in emergencies.

Brilliant scientist in the world, working to develop ways to control objects and conditions beyond our atmosphere, should be studying ways to control nature. At the very least they could work on how to better predict storms far enough in advance to allow people to take cover.

Perhaps one of those young students saved by a loving teacher will be the one to develop the needed technical knowledge.




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