I have been struggling to find the right words to say since the tornado struck last night. For those of us who chased the Parkersburg tornado, and anyone else who has ever witnessed a deadly tornado, we understand what these people are going through. What most of us fail to comprehend is the sheer scale of this catastrophe.
Moore, Oklahoma is no stranger to disasters like this. The town has been hit by big tornadoes before. In fact, a tornado which struck the town in 1999 contained the highest wind speeds ever recorded by radar. This is a town that takes these events seriously and knows how to respond.
But in the case of a tornado like this, many experts will tell you, no matter of safety can protect you from winds and destruction like this. Even if every living person in the path of this storm took every precaution they could, some simply had no chance. That’s the reality we face. There are storms that are simply un-survivable given the current technology we have. They are rare, and we can’t use that as a motive for fear but instead a tool of innovation.
Every day researchers work on better detection methods, better safety methods and countless other things I can’t think of right now. When you and your children see these horrible images, it is up to us not to give into the fear. Children should not be afraid to go to school because of what happened. And adults should not fear every clap of thunder. This was rare. It was terrible, but it was rare.
After the Parkersburg tornado I wondered if I could ever stomach chasing again. That feeling didn’t last long and I was back on the road two weeks later. We do this because it’s the right thing to do. If we run from these storms, if we cower in the face of them, we can never conquer them. We defeat them by doing all that we can to protect lives, learn what causes these storms and develop new technologies to help us accomplish those feats.
Today, Moore, Oklahoma is a tragedy. But the day will come when this will become a learning experience, a new weapon in the fight against deadly tornadoes. The Midwest has been terrorized by these storms before and we will again. All we can do as a society is pick those up who were knocked down by this storm, dust ourselves off and take that next step forward.