In the age of social media, many of us feel like we need to publicly address disasters and tragedies, as if we’re the President and PR department wrapped into one online presence. I don’t normally address such tragedies unless I have some connection to it or something to add, which I do, regarding the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma…
The tornado was expected. Maybe not the day or the location, but everyone knew it was coming, and that more will come.
I drove right through Moore last month on my way to speak at the University of Oklahoma in Norman (10 miles south of Moore). There are three things that folks love in the area: the Oklahoma Sooners, The Thunder (the NBA basketball team), and watching the weather. Norman is home to the national Weather Service, and surely has the world’s highest density of storm chasers.
The first day I was in Norman it was a humid 75-degrees; the next, there was snow on the ground. In between there was wind and hail and an inordinate amount of armored vehicles heading out to storm chase.
I suppose there are people who consider themselves professional storm chasers, but when it comes to weather, everyone is an amateur.
Some of the local meteorologists have it written into their contract that they aren’t allowed to storm chase. That’s how common it is. People don’t shake their heads at the storm chasers, they are proud of them.
The storms are part of the community’s identities. They don’t fear them. They live with them, and in awful tragedies, they even die with them. They could move away and avoid the next storm, but the area is their home, so they name their NBA team The Thunder, and they check the doppler radar on their iPhones during pauses in conversations.
The residents of Moore had a 16-minute warning that the tornado was coming. In most cases, a 10-minute warning is the best people can hope for, but in this part of Oklahoma, their warnings are 160% better.
A Senator from Oklahoma on the news this morning said that every Oklahoman has lived through a tornado.
No community can prepare for such devastation, but I doubt there is a community in the United States that is better able to handle recovering from a storm like this than those of Moore.
Their community is mightier than the storm. They’ve proven that in the past.
My heart breaks for those who lost family members, especially those parents who hugged their kids in the morning, sent them off to school, and lost them to this terrible event. No doubt that the last hug wasn’t long enough, or tight enough.
How could it be?
Think of Moore and hug your loved ones extra long and extra tight.