Here in Oklahoma we are smack dab in the middle of tornado season and I know a lot of the world has heard about the recent tornadoes in Moore, which is 2 hours southwest of where we live. In my 28 years of living here I have only had one up close and personal encounter with a tornado when I was about 14 years old. We had just taken my best friend home since the weather wasn't looking too great and my dad was grilling out. I was standing in the spare room looking out of the windows to the west, watching debris start to circle around in the air. My brother and I ran underneath our stairs and my mom is standing at the stairs screaming at my dad to come in the house while he was trying to cover up the grill. I remember thinking that it wasn't going to do a lot of good if it gets airborne and carried away. By time he got under the stairs with us it was over our house. It was a small tornado that was jumping throughout neighborhood, damaging our roof and taking part of our chimney with it, but it was still very scary.
Every week for the past month and a half my boss and I have traveled to Oklahoma City once a week for work. We were even in town on May 21st, the day after the first big tornado hit Moore. It has rained almost every time we have been down there and everyone including ourselves are a little scared of more tornadoes, especially since the widest one in history was within 2 miles of our OKC office just last week.
As we left yesterday we decided to take the took the 20 minutes drive from the office to Moore to see if damage was visible from the highway. It was. This was a neighborhood full of houses that was in direct path of the tornado.
It makes me sad to think of the people who possibly lost their life in this very spot, and knowing that many have died because of the recent tornadoes. Two of our co-workers live in Moore and each of their houses were just a couple blocks from the direct path of the tornado, one of which was in the same neighborhood as Briarwood Elementary (she was actually fleeing the neighborhood as the tornado was hitting the school). Both of their homes suffered major damage but their families are ok.
Last night I was watching Mile Wide Tornado on the Discovery Channel and couldn't help but cry, especially during a video a teacher in Briarwood took as she and her class were under cover in the bathroom while the tornado hit. The fear I experienced from my encounter with a tornado is no where near the level of what you could hear in that teachers screams.
But this is our home. We are not leaving. Some people from other parts of the country or world don't understand that. They ask why not just move somewhere else? Between tornadoes, earthquakes (we have those too!), hurricanes, tsunami's, tidal waves, volcanoes, sink holes, etc., is there really anywhere "safe" to live in this world?