t’s been a few months of hot, clear weather, but we’re about to head back into storm seasons here in Oklahoma. It’s not just that it is storming and nasty, it’s that the weather becomes a life threatening situation often enough that it’s something of a cultural joke.
Over the years, we’ve had many tornadoes. The oldest documented one was in Woodward, Oklahoma in the late part of the 19th century. This was back before storm warnings and tornado sirens. People were asleep when the tornado came down. Because of the lack of warning, many people died. It was a terrible tragedy.
However, good things have come out of this tragedy as there are now forewarning systems, sirens, shelters and various other things to help keep us safer. Building codes have become stricter, in addition to the fact that science has made great improvements to construction techniques and building materials.
There are lots of different kinds of storm shelters now. Back then, if you had a shelter it was in the form of a root cellar that may or may not be safe. People died from drowning in the cellar almost as much as they did in the tornadoes. Nowdays there is still that possibility but it is not nearly as dangerous.
One of the best things that we have managed to come up with over the years is the siren system. All the sirens interlink together so when the alarm is sounded for one area, nearby areas are put on alert too. This is because tornadoes are unpredictable and can “jump” by quite a distance, even miles, to a new location.Since the storms will move very fast, it’s nearly impossible to know where the tornado might jump to until it’s already made it’s move. It’s better to be safe than sorry.