This past Friday our city went through some pretty tough times! On June 15, our town and neighborhood got hit by two tornadoes. My neighborhood got hit by a category F2 (113-157 mph winds) tornado and our adjacent neighborhood got hit by a F1 tornado (73-112 mph winds). It was extremely surreal and hard to believe.
When we came out of our house it felt like I wasn't in the same neighborhood. A ton of our trees and fencing were demolished. Roofs had been ripped off, and 30-40 year old trees were up-rooted in just seconds. Luckily, no one was injured or killed in this tornado.
Like a typical dad, I was watching the storm on the front porch right up until the point when I saw a large hand of wind just rip into my neighborhood. I knew that was the point when I should probably seek shelter! :)
After things had settled down, all of the neighbors started coming out of their houses and couldn't believe their eyes. It was like we had just had a bad dream and reality would soon return. Here are few pictures of what we came out to…
It was is hard to believe that we had actually gone through a tornado. I thought it would have felt different. Like I would have seen it come in miles away, and it would have been a big funnel cloud. Instead, it was like the hand of God had wiped the earth!
In going through this experience we experienced a lot of great community in the support and helpfulness of our neighbors! I saw first hand the helpfulness of the American people and determination to immediately rebuild! It is amazing to see fellow neighbors join hands in helping a neighbor out. After seeing this I was really reminded of what a great country we live in. Truly! If you don't remember anything else I saw in this blog post, remember, WE LIVE IN A GREAT COUNTRY!
After going 36 hours without power and having time to think about a lot of things, I came up with a few lessons that I learned in going through this experience.
- Help your neighbor – a lot of times this is a given, but through a disaster you realize how many people need each other. Not only that be we need our neighbors. I had one neighbor say to me that she is completely indebted to us. I said, “I know you'd do the same for us.” It is encouraging to see how a disaster really brings a community together!
- Have a proper emergency plan – it is important to have adequate number of flashlight and batteries to survive a number of days without power/lights. Make sure you have enough food to last 3-5 days with limited power or heating source. Also, ensure that you have a heating source in case you lose power during some cold winter nights and can help protect your family!
- Ensure you have proper insurance – this storm really made me look at my insurance policy and gave me a friendly reminder to recheck my policy. Currently, my deductible is 1% of the value of my house, so I have to pay $2,250 out of pocket before I can get my insurance company to pay for repairs. Do you know what your deductible is on your house?
- Buy a generator – if you have a lot of frozen foods and refrigerated goods, then it is extremely important to have a backup power source. I'd say that if you have $400 or more worth of frozen/refrigerated food, then that is the point at which you should consider buying a generator. I have a hard time buying a generator when I'd only utilize it less than 1% of a given year. The only exception is if you have a lot of food that needs to be preserved and the financial loss would justify the low utilization.
These are just a few ideas that I thought of while cleaning up our neighborhood. Have you ever gone through a tornado or hurricane or earthquake? Were you prepared? What did you learn from going through a natural disaster that helped you be better prepared the next time?
When Sandy came to the North East my daughter was about 3 weeks old and we went about 8 days without electricity. Luckily, I have a small generator that I used for my side job and we were able to keep my and my tenants refrigerors, TVs and lights going during the day. I move my family into one room in the house which I keeped heat up with camping gas lamps by using little 3 pounds camping gas tanks. Also, luckily I ordered a lot of camping and 9hrs candles from Amazon before the storm came. Also my car tank was full so I was able to star running my generator by getting gas out of my car. After that I have to go out of town to buy gas in order to keep the generator going. Now I have 2 Goal Zero 1400w electric/Solar generator
Glad you’re okay. That’s something I never want to experience in my life: a tornado. My aunt and uncle’s house got hit by a tornado in Appomattox, Virginia, a couple of years ago — a place where tornadoes don’t typically happen. Well, until the last two years and now they seem to be getting them.
It obliterated their neighbor’s house whose young son was at home sick from school. Luckily, they had their house up for sale and a painter was there painting some interior rooms and was able to get the boy to safety. One died from the tornado, an elderly gentleman, which was a miracle considering the damage it did and the fact most don’t have a basement to seek shelter.
On a similar note, I once interviewed Richard Cox. He’s a novelist and a friend. He wrote a book called “The Boys of Summer,” if you’re interested in re-living the terror of a devastating tornado. It’s fiction of course. Philip K. Dick meets Stephen King… with an EF-5 tornado. Richard grew up to be a storm chaser after witnessing the aftermath of Terrible Tuesday in Wichita Falls, Texas.
I’m so sorry you went through this but neighbors helping neighbors brings out the best in us .A few more prep plans would be:
Have money,Necessary papers, medicines, in zip lock bag just in case. Supply of water, cell phones charged. A safe spot picked out ahead of time to meet family, friends. If you have pets a supply of their food, etc. Always have a go bag packed and checked monthly. It’s better to be prepared than not.
One last hing..lol. Take Cottons Balls and put petroleum jelly on them. They are a fast fire starter for starting a fire in a charcoal grill, fire ring, or in any safe spot to warm cook food. Keep the cotton balls in a zip lock bag too.
When we went through the flood I couldn’t get a fire started to save my life. No hot Coffee! Afterwards learned the cotton ball trick.
Stay safe always!
Glad you were all safe after this ordeal!