crazydiamondsue: (OK State of Mind)
Thanks to [ profile] stoney321 for updating everyone we were okay after the destructive tornado in south Oklahoma City yesterday. My phone was blowing up all day and night and I wasn't in a great frame of mind. Eddie, Jonah, our fur babies and our house are fine. We live in inner city north, about 3 miles from downtown, which is usually pretty safe from the storms.

Eddie took this week off to work on his Qualifying Exams for his PhD program. Jonah got out of school yesterday at 11:30 (his last day is Friday) and we were all home together. There was tornadic activity Sunday (it was actually the scariest at our house on Sunday, with the yellow sky and the whipping trees) that hit OKC's northern suburb, Edmond, and did some damage, as well as the town of Shawnee to east of OKC. We were all staying home to avoid the weather and watching the local news to keep up. We saw the funnel cloud touch down in Newcastle (town of around 8,000 immediately to the southwest of OKC). The area it hit is pretty rural, so we were expecting the typical torn up treeline and downed powerlines to result.

But Eddie and I watched as it grew from a funnel into something I'd never seen before. A two-mile wide tornado doesn't look two-miles wide as it crosses the country side -- it looks like a horizon eater. OKC has developed state-of-the-art doppler radar over the years (we've had to) and we have people who come from all over the US to train as meteorologists and storm chasers. Our weathermen might have "Boy howdy, y'all," accents, but they're all the absolute top of the field -- you have to to work here. So when they said this enormous tornado was heading straight toward I-35 south (runs from OKC to Dallas) and into downtown Moore, OK (OKC's southern suburb of over 50,000 people), Eddie and I were holding hands and praying.

Moore was devastated in 1999 by the May 3 tornado. As many of you have probably seen on TV, this tornado followed pretty much the same trajectory. The May 3 tornado was actually a series of tornados, yesterday's storm was a two mile wide fucking wall of destruction.

While Eddie and I don't live on the southside of the city, we do shop there and we visit the gorgeous art deco Warren Theatre. It stood up to the storms yesterday and became triage. The hospital where my friend Jen works part-time (next to the Warren) was leveled. That was the hospital where I first heard Jonah's heartbeat. Whole business districts and neighborhoods are gone. Thankfully, everyone that we are close to and most of the people we know personally have checked in, safe and sound. Several are unable to get into their neighborhoods to check on their homes and pets. Some haven't heard from their parents or other family members.

My friend Angie, whom some of you may remember is the mother of Braden that I watched when Jonah was a baby, missed losing her home by two blocks and her father-in-law spent the storm in the vault of a credit union that was leveled. It took 4 men to keep the locked vault door closed against the storm. His truck was destroyed and his home damaged, but he is okay. It took Angie over 4 hours to make it home taking the back roads and detours.

People are trapped in their neighborhoods and the National Guard and others are working to get them out to shelters that have opened up. People are unable to get into their neighborhoods to see if their home is still there and if their pets are safe. There is no power or water in Moore.

Moore's population has actually risen since the 1999 tornado. Why? Because initially, it was more cost effective to buy in Moore (south side of OKC is the "poorer" side of OKC, traditionally) than it was to buy in OKC's northern, more affluent suburb, Edmond. Over the past 10-15 years, Moore has grown immensely in young families because of neighborhood developments and excellent schools. It has lower crime than OKC and better property values. In 2012, CNN ranked Moore #77 in a list of America's 100 best small cities to live in. I say that because I saw a lot this morning in comments to news reports wondering why people would live there. For the same reason people live in areas with the possibility of hurricanes, mudslides, wildfires, floods and earthquakes. It doesn't happen every day, and we make the gamble that it won't happen again.

What made this particular tornado so horrific is that, despite doppler and forewarning, people took shelter in typically "safe" areas: basements, interior rooms, storm shelters and some were drowned or buried under rubble. This is a monster storm -- this has freaked Oklahomans out, and we're used to seeing the funnel cloud touch the ground. One of the most demoralizing events, of course, is the seven known children who were lost in Moore's Plaza Tower Elementary school. The tornado struck at 3:15, as they would have normally been getting out of school during the last week of classes.

Oklahomans are used to rebuilding. We have an infrastructure for disaster forged in the 1995 federal building bombing and the F-4 tornadoes we've been hit by in the past 15 years. But it knocks us to our knees to lose people, and to have children in danger. I got a text last night from a friend out of state who asked if I'm not afraid to live here. Healthy fear of tornadoes? Sure. I respect nature, and I respect how much weather patterns have changed in the past 20 years. But I heard on OKC's NPR affiliate this morning that the newsrooms and churches and shelters of OKC are flooded with donations of water and diapers and energy bars and gloves and trashbags. That is why I never fear for Oklahoma. I've lived through my share of horrible days here, and we are nothing but big damn heroes in the face of disaster. And I live in the United States of America, and I know as I type this, donations are pouring in from the west and east coast, north and south. I know that wheels are on the ground with help coming in from Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. Because it's what we *do* and it's what makes days like today seem just a little less dark, no matter the forecast.

If you'd like to help, is great local source, the Red Cross as always, and if you'd like to do something fannish, I can personally vouch for SPNFamily Fundraiser through, which has already raised over $400 for the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma: SPNFamily donation.

Love to you guys, thanks for those who have sent emails and messages.

Date: 2013-05-21 01:57 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
ext_1720: two kittens with a heart between them (sue)
♥ ♥ ♥

I'm glad you're okay. All of that sounds horrifically frightening.

Date: 2013-05-21 02:14 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
<3 We have more storms coming in today, but Eddie and Jonah and I are safe. Just so hurt for our friends on the southside, and especially those people who lost family.

Date: 2013-05-21 04:17 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
ext_1720: two kittens with a heart between them (txtls - gingerbread man)
The after-storms I'm seeing on the news look pretty bad, too. Please stay safe. The devastation this thing left is just- it's awful. I cannot imagine how bad it is.

How's Jonah taking all this? It's got to be pretty scary since you may not have a tornado but the wind is supposed to be really bad where you are (or so I guestimate from a map and I suck at geography, although that's what google maps is for...).

Date: 2013-05-21 06:10 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
It's rainy and dark, but no expected tornadoes.

Jonah is okay. We explained Sunday about tornadoes and taking shelter and then it passed over us. Yesterday we talked a little about it, but we didn't give him too much information because we didn't want to scare or upset him. He told us after school today that he and 3 of his friends at school were playing with the classroom dollhouse and playing "tornado." Kids kind of work things out for themselves. He's an Oklahoman --- they're just thunder storms until they blow your house away.

Date: 2013-05-21 02:18 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Oh, Sue.

Big damn heroes, for sure. ::::crushing hugs::::::::

Date: 2013-05-21 02:34 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
*hugs* I'm am by turns so grateful and so sad.

Date: 2013-05-21 02:23 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I'm praying and praying. *clings*

Date: 2013-05-21 02:34 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]

Date: 2013-05-21 03:09 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
So very glad that you and yours are safe.


Date: 2013-05-21 06:04 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you!! *hugs*

Date: 2013-05-21 03:26 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
ext_2351: (cat's moon by ponders_life)

I am so glad I got to talk to you yesterday or I would have been freaking out big time when I heard the news on NPR this morning.

Date: 2013-05-21 06:05 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]

Me, too! I was going to email you and got distracted by it all.

Date: 2013-05-21 05:34 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I'm trying to spread those charity org. you've listed everywhere I can.

Glad you're okay, obviously, and glad that you have info to help ready to go. LOVE YOU.

Date: 2013-05-21 06:05 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you for the signal boost! We are taking water and baby wipes (life's essentials) over to a drop off station here in a bit, and then headed home! LOVE YOU TONS.

Date: 2013-05-21 07:59 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
*big hugs*

Thank you for the update, and for the perspective of someone living there. When I saw the storm path on the news, I looked up the location of your home on google maps so I knew you were on the other side of town but was still really glad for your update. It's so hard to think about the people who weren't that lucky.

*loves you lots & still wants to come visit*

Date: 2013-05-21 10:02 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I have been avoiding the internet, because even on LJ I saw some dumb comments about Oklahomans, and about why were all still here, because tornadoes aren't hurricanes and we get multiple-county-wide warnings before they hit and have no idea where they're going to touch down? I guess we could evacuate the entire state during the month of May (we'll schedule your visit other than May!). Bleah. I wish some people could just say, "Sorry for your loss" and move on.

Right now it's sunny and bright and recovery is going strong. I feel kind of helpless, because other than taking some stuff to my church to help with clean-up, there's really not much I can do (they don't even need blood donations) other than be positive and stay informed. <3

Date: 2013-05-21 08:44 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I'm so glad you and family are okay! It was the lead item on the news and the images were just horrifying. Giant hugs of hugginess!

Date: 2013-05-21 10:04 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
<3 <3 <3 We are all safe and sound and Jonah is driving us nuts with Disney Jr on TV! My little house is usually pretty safe. I say I don't move to the suburbs because I'm a hipster, but it's really a safety precaution in OKC to stay in the inner city. Irony!

Date: 2013-05-21 10:05 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I'm so relieved you're all okay. I can't even imagine what it must be like to go through something like that.

Date: 2013-05-21 11:19 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
We are fine! I have lived through several tornadoes in my life, but none this bad. Luckily, we were nowhere near the touchdown site but we knew so many people who were. Thank you for the good thoughts, VM! <3

Date: 2013-05-21 11:41 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] molly_may
molly_may: (Default)
I am so glad that you and your family are safe. ::hugs::

Date: 2013-05-22 01:26 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you! We are good, and we are watching our city do great things for our people. Feels pretty amazing!

Date: 2013-05-22 12:33 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
So glad you are all okay! Thanks for taking the time to post. <3

Date: 2013-05-22 01:28 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
We are good! Thank you for checking. ;)

Date: 2013-05-22 12:39 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I'm glad you and yours are okay. God's *teeth*, this is horrific.

Date: 2013-05-22 01:31 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
It is. But the amazing things that the people of this city and surrounding areas are doing for each other is making me cry happy tears. Donations, opening their homes, kennels opening to shelter pets, ranches opening to horses...OMG it's incredible. Local celebrties donating money by the doesn't take the horror away, but it does make it a lot easier to explain to people why I live in Oklahoma!

Date: 2013-05-22 01:34 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I saw the FB page for the ranch that had lost, what, fifty horses? And one of the first comments on the post was 'here's my number, i have room for your horses, i'm hooking up my trailer right now'.

Yeah, makes you have some confidence in humanity.

Date: 2013-05-22 12:45 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] lynnenne
lynnenne: (mood: hug)
I am so glad you and your family are safe, honey. Many hugs to all of you. Love you lots. xo

Date: 2013-05-22 01:32 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you, sweetie! We are safe and everyone we love is either home or safe with someone else. Love to you!!! <3

Date: 2013-05-22 01:52 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I'm happy that you and your family are safe. I happened to see your Facebook post that you guys were all safe before I saw the news (which reassured me for you all, but my heart is heavy for everyone who lost so much).The damage and loss is devastating, but I was heartened to read that you never fear for Oklahoma. We're all thinking about Oklahoma here in Pennslyvania.

Thanks for sharing donation info.

*big hugs*

Date: 2013-05-23 12:47 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you for the love from PA!!! Honestly, for all the loss and devastation, there have been SO many moments of people being amazing to each other and so much generosity and kindness that it's mindboggling.

Date: 2013-05-22 02:40 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Yikes, so glad you guys are okay.

Date: 2013-05-23 12:49 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
We are good! And people here are being so amazing to each other and to their communities that it's a thrill to be proud to see Oklahomans in the news (our senator can still go blow, though, and I think that's been made obvious to him. What kind of tool argues about reducing emergency spending when his constituents don't have underwear? Dude.)

Date: 2013-05-22 02:53 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
ext_1026: made by lanning (Default)
I'm so glad y'all are okay. *hugs*

Date: 2013-05-23 12:49 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you! We are safe and sound and our state is doing amazing things! :)

Date: 2013-05-22 03:20 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Good words. It's important that people know that there are reasons to keep going. When you get right down to it, nowhere is "safe" the way we wish it was. Terrible things can happen anywhere. Still, I can only imagine how frightening yesterday must have been. Very glad you and yours are okay.

Date: 2013-05-23 12:50 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I love my Texans, I never have to explain it to them. And you live in the best of the west. *g* It was a scary day, but there has been so much love and generosity in the news every day this week that it's been incredibly heartening.

Date: 2013-05-22 09:29 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I can't even imagine the scene in that credit union vault where your friend's father sheltered... The whole thing has me in goosebumps just thinking about that "wall of destruction" as you so aptly put it. Terrifying.

Again, so glad you're all OK.

Date: 2013-05-23 12:51 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
The worst tornado I have ever been DIRECTLY affected by (when I was around Jonah's age) wrapped my swingset/jungle gym completely around the oak tree in our front yard and destroyed our roof. We were in the storm cellar and I just heard the freight train sound people describe. I've never actually felt the winds like that, and I can't imagine the terror.

Date: 2013-05-25 11:28 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
ext_7299: (redbrickrose)
I'm so glad you're okay. ♥

Date: 2013-05-26 03:06 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you! <3


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