22 Jan No One Should Ever Die from a Tornado
I believe no one should ever die from a tornado. I know this is a strong statement to make, but as a family of storm chasers and the captain of the Storm Warriors team, we have listened to countless stories from victims of these deadly storms. They describe in detail where they were, when it hit, how they felt during the event, and so on. Many of these stories where family members were injured or even when loved ones were lost conclude with a remaining thought that if they could have gone back in time, right before the tornado hit; they would have done something different that would have changed the outcome.
In 25 years of storm chasing, I have seen the aftermath of many deadly tornados in over seven states. Each tornado event tells a different story about how they developed, their devastation of both property and life along its path, even the strength and length of the path itself is never the same.
In the Granbury tornado of 2015, we spoke to many survivors. During the weeks that followed the disaster, we helped feed families and clean up crews. While we were there, one family, who had lost their home and all of their belongings, said that they knew the storm was coming but never thought that it would hit them. Tornados, they said, always happened to other people, in other neighborhoods. Even as the local meteorologist was warning the communities of Granbury and Cleburne they walked out onto the front porch instead of taking cover.
The decision to watch the storm and not heed the warnings almost cost them their lives and did send one of their family members to a local hospital with several lacerations from flying debris. Now, as they cleaned up and looked for any family memory the storm left behind, they were all in agreement that they would never take the warnings for granted again. They even talked about how they would include a storm shelter in their plans to rebuild.
What if every family looked at weather like storm chasers do? In other words, what if each day, every family knew the weather conditions for the day and knew the warnings because they were more weather aware? What if each family had a safe place to go in their homes or because of their weather awareness, could evacuate their homes to a better structure? Would these actions make a difference in how many people die or get injured?
My family has evacuated our home many times because we were either in a storm’s path or there was a better structure close by. It’s what we did and even though most every time these evacuations were false alarms, we know it only takes one to change our lives forever.
The more we become weather aware, learn how to use technology and have a plan for our families we will greatly increase our chance of avoiding injuries and even death from deadly storms. This should become just another part of our day as we protect our families from harm.
Let me put this into perspective. If you woke up one morning and the newspaper had an article that said there might be an active shooter within five counties of where you lived and worked, would you consider changing your plans? What if the article said that there was a high probability of a very dangerous active shooter in the county where you lived and worked and you should take precautions? Would you think differently about your day? How you got to and from your home or office? Would you even allow your children to go to school?
This may sound a little extreme, but with the average of over 1,000 tornadoes in the United States each year, we need to be more prepared and take these risk much more seriously. Yes, the statement that “No One Should Ever Die From A Tornado” is strong but I don’t know how else to say it. Should we say that no more than 20 or 30 or 40 people should die from a tornado?
I know, for me and my family, we believe that no one in our home should ever die from a tornado and we chase them to help warn others and to be there if the tornado does any type of destruction. Our plan is to not ever get hurt, much less killed. If this is doable for us, as chasers, it’s doable for your family as well. For more safety tips go to www.StormWarriors.tv and download our safety tip information card.