According to statistics, Oklahoma, some southern parts of Kansas and Missouri, experienced 39 tornadoes in a 3-day period last week, from May 10th through May 12th. Meteorologists hit the nail on the head when they predicted that conditions were right for activity from tornadoes. The governor of Oklahoma has designated a state of emergency for 56 counties in that state. More than 800 volunteers were helping victims of the tornadoes clean up debris and look for any traces of valuables that were left. There were more than 100 people injured, two deaths, and millions of dollars worth of damage caused by the twisters.
The National Weather Center has stated that it will take time to gather all the data from the tornadoes last week. There was also very large hail in some areas, some as large as softballs.
Two of the tornadoes were classified as EF-4, and four were EF-3’s. According to the NOAA Satellite and Information Systems, here are the classifications of wind speeds:
- EF-1 = 86-110 mph
- EF-2 = 111-135 mph
- EF-3 = 136-165 mph
- EF-4 = 166-200 mph
- EF-5 = over 200 mph
It is hard to imagine how anything was left standing in winds that strong. According to experts, there’s no wind on earth stronger than winds inside a tornado. It’s amazing that more people escaped injury; they had advance notice that allowed them to be better prepared, due to correct weather warnings. This serves as a reminder to all of us to do the following:
1. Know the hazards of dangerous weather.
2. Pay attention to forecasts.
3. Have a plan to stay safe. Think about what you will do in case of a natural disaster and be prepared.
After the terrible week that Oklahomans had, let’s hope the rest of the season will be mild. The residents are grateful to all the volunteers who are helping with the clean up. It’s times like this when everyone steps up to the plate.