Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Big Blow

Susan and I watched the whole thing on television. This part of the country is so inured to terrible weather, mostly in the spring months, that whenever these terrific storms kick up the likely spawn tornadoes all the local TV stations are on it. With maps and radar and pointers and smart whether people to explain what's going on – endlessly. So when that monster killer tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, yesterday, we already knew down here in Norman that it presented no danger to us. But we could tell that it was a huge storm. And it stayed on the ground for a real long time, like 21 miles in 40 minutes. And although we could not see what it was doing at the time, the commentators, the storm chasers and the guys in the helicopters who are tracking this thing closely were awestruck.

And when the cameras finally did get on the ground and we got a look at the destruction, it was terrible beyond belief. At this point they don't know how many people have been killed, and a lot more have been hurt. The swathe of destruction through a neighborhood in Moore that we know well is simply beyond past the ability of language to describe. The old biblical description of not a stone being left upon a stone is apt. There is nothing more destructive than a tornado, and this one was a killer. Of great size, power, and duration. We will know more in the coming days, but this storm will rival the one that blew through the same area just about in 1999. That storm packed winds of over 300 miles an hour. It doesn't seem that this one was that strong, but it will be just as destructive, if not more so.
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