Today’s Tech and the Oklahoma Tornado

photo credit: msnbc

photo credit: msnbc

There are no words to describe the horror of yesterday’s tornado in Oklahoma.

We watched it live from around the country. I can’t imagine what that was like for people who were at work in Oklahoma City, watching the television coverage of the storm as it raked through their own neighborhoods, a few miles away. And if they had kids in those schools? I have no words.

I subscribe to a Twitter feed from the National Weather Service, and the alerts were coming in by the second with precise locations targeted to take shelter or get away. Tornado warnings were issued 25-40 minutes before the tornado struck.

photo credit: CNN

photo credit: CNN

Today’s tech can warn us and let us watch, but after the storm has passed, can it help?

Yes, it can.

The American Red Cross is helping loved ones find each other through the website Safe and Well.

You can donate to the Red Cross online, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief, or you can donate by phone by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

A list of shelters can be found, here.

The Salvation Army has also set up a donation form online.

photo credit: CNN

photo credit: CNN

When a tornado of this magnitude rips through neighborhoods like this, personal belongings can end up miles and miles away.

A Facebook page has been started to reunite people with their belongings so that hopefully some photos and other items can find their way back into the possession of owners. This Facebook page was actually started after an earlier tornado, but has been expanded to include the disaster in Moore. (As I write this post, I just saw an interview on television with an Oklahoma senator who lives 80 miles away from the tornado area and he was holding up a photograph that had floated down into his yard. A perfect example of how helpful this Facebook page can be.)

Pets are also being reunited with their owners through the online effort.

photo credit: CNN

photo credit: CNN

The photos of the devastation show an area that looks like a bomb has leveled it. Coverage is continuous this morning on most news stations in the USA, and a comprehensive collections of photos are here and here.

So tech is helping warn and cope. But it can’t prevent. Maybe someday we’ll be able to flip a switch and dissipate a storm. Now that would be a technological advancement to cheer about.

Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 7.27.02 PM


19 thoughts on “Today’s Tech and the Oklahoma Tornado

  1. Wouldn’t it just! After watching this unfold yesterday afternoon and evening, I have had to walk away for a while. I’m still getting updates, but I can’t absorb any more horror right this minute. It’s just too awful for my mind to wrap around. Your points about how technology can help are very true, and I thank you for sharing the links. The only thing most of us CAN do at this point is offer support via donations of some sort. It beats the heck out of sitting around and asking “Why?” all day long.

  2. So sad and incredibly frightening for the people affected. My word, when mother nature decides throw a frothy, there’s just no stopping her. My hearts go out to all those affected and I must say that I feel incredibly privileged to live in a region where natural disasters (touching wood like mad here 🙂 ) are not really an issue.

  3. Thank you for posting about this and the links too. I wanted to post about it but it is so hard. I didn’t even want to make a post today because it is so sad. But still did. Life goes on.
    All of it is heart breaking especially the school. A teacher’s worries about her students should only have to be a skinned knee or a runny nose. Nothing could prepare for this mammoth storm. And it could happen again tomorrow.

    • That’s one of the awful things about tornados, I think. It’s never “over”. They keep rolling through all spring ….. EVERY spring. I lived in a tornado area for a short 3 years, and I will say, I was terrified with every thunderstorm.

  4. One of the things that struck me was the heroism of the teachers, in the same way that I was moved by the heroism of the teachers at the school shooting a few months ago. What inspiring magnificent people go into teaching….what love and commitment they give to their students, putting their own well-being at risk.

  5. We (mankind) are so humbled when Mother Nature’s decides to remind us who is really in charge but at least with modern technology, so much more can be done pro-actively and reactively to reduce casualties and try to get folks back on their feet as soon as possible. I was so moved by a piece on CNN when an elderly lady’s dog came out of the wreckage. I still get a little lump in my throat just thinking of it.

  6. The fact that tornado season hits every year like hurricane season boggles my mind. Our area in CA is away from earthquakes, and really has no natural disasters since the dam was built in 1961. As a rule I think people feel safe in their homes, and if you live in one of these “storm areas” it seems like you play lotto with your life. Most of the time you are safe, but then something awful like this tornado hits, and everyone has to start over. It just makes me feel hopeless for those folks to even see the photos.

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