Monday, May 20, 2013

Moore Tornado

Today has been a tragic day for a wide swath of The Midwest. Tornadoes have been hitting for the past week. But today, a tornado that's already being described by some as "the worst in recorded history" hit Moore, Oklahoma.

A mile-wide tornado churned through the Oklahoma City suburbs, destroying homes for the second day in a row Monday, as part of a severe weather outbreak that was expected to spread in other parts of the Plains and Midwest. [...] “We’re just waiting to see what happens. It’s a mile-wide tornado. It’s still grinding out,” said Mark Meyers, a spokesman for the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. “We are currently on standby for tornado response. Whatever happens, we’ll be ready to respond.” The strongest winds on earth — 302 mph — were recorded near Moore during a tornado May 3, 1999. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman had predicted a major outbreak of severe weather Monday in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Storms on Sunday killed two people near Shawnee, about 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. Gov. Mary Fallin earlier Monday took a tour of the areas hardest hit and she expressed concern that, with power out, Oklahomans might not receive warnings about the new round of storms.
The tornado was a mile wide with wind speeds up to 200 miles per hour. It was likely an EF 5 tornado, which is the most severe level of storm. Its footprint was 3 times the size of the 1999 storm. At least 51 people have died today... And recovery efforts are just beginning. At least 120 people have been hospitalized as a result of this tornado. Again, there's actually been a chain of tornadoes hitting The Midwest for the past week. Oklahoma already secured a federal emergency declaration before this particular tornado even hit. And now, the storm system that produced this super tornado is about to wreak havoc in Arkansas and Missouri. Lately, we've been reminded of the increasing severity of climate change. While we don't know yet how much climate change contributed to this specific storm, there's been increasing evidence of climate change... Well, affecting the weather and overall climate. Are we prepared for more "mega-disasters" like this, Hurricane Sandy, and epic Western Wildfires? Are we prepared? As we detailed earlier today, federal austerity has led to devastating budget cuts affecting emergency preparation efforts and disaster response. Already, today has been an incredibly painful day for numerous Americans. Will austerity worsen the pain wrought by natural disasters? The American Red Cross has been trying to prepare for this slew of tornadoes. But now, perhaps more than ever before, The Red Cross needs help in helping victims in Moore, Oklahoma, and in other tornado affected areas of The Midwest. If you can give, now is a good time to do so.

And stay tuned here at Nevada Progressive for further updates on the Midwestern Tornadoes.

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