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.
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.
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.)
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.