Oklahoma Tornadoes: Stay Prepared

Wednesday, July 23rd 2008, 11:07 pm

By: News 9

Oklahoma has one of the best severe weather warning systems in the world. A number of factors are responsible for this terrific system. Experienced and highly educated meteorologists, cutting-edge technology, competition, topography (relatively flat in most areas), and a very weather savvy public all play key roles in an effective warning environment. However, I sometimes wonder to myself if we aren't a bit too comfortable because of all those things I mentioned.

I know Oklahoma has a great system because we have received numerous calls and email messages in the News9 weather department from people who didn't know how good they had it until they moved. The F-5 tornado on May 3, 1999 and the F-4 tornado on May 8, 2003 both illustrate how good the system has worked in the past. The 44 fatalities on May 3, 1999 was exceptionally low when you consider that more than 8,000 homes and business were destroyed. There were no fatalities with the Moore F-4 on May 8, 2003 that struck during the evening rush hour.     

Are we lucky or are we just that prepared? I don't really know the answer to that question. What I do know is that we are not immune to tornadoes because of our success in the past. Violent tornadoes are a part of where we live, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Tornadoes won't always arrive with 90 minutes of warning. They won't always arrive in the daytime either. The key regardless of these factors is to have a safety plan and stay informed.

I am extremely proud to work as part of the News9 weather team to deliver the most accurate and timely information that we possibly can. However, advance warning only benefit those who make wise choices that are in the path of the storm. Speaking of wise choices, if you ever have the opportunity to purchase or save up for a storm shelter take advantage. Stay with News9, we'll keep you advised.


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