Whirlwinds

I grew up in Oklahoma, right in tornado alley.  We didn’t have a basement or a cellar so when the sirens blew we would get in the car and drive through the wind, often us kids still in our pajamas, to the church basement.  When we didn’t have time, we’d hide under our parents’ bed.  I remember vividly looking out their window and seeing a funnel bearing down.   I’ve seen a lot of massive wreckage.  Few things are as scary or as awe-inspiring as a tornado.  But I never went through anything like what happened on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, with  among the worst tornado outbreaks in history:

At least 290 people were killed across six states — more than two-thirds of them in Alabama, where large cities bore the half-mile-wide scars the twisters left behind.

The death toll from Wednesday’s storms seems out of a bygone era, before Doppler radar and pinpoint satellite forecasts were around to warn communities of severe weather. Residents were told the tornadoes were coming up to 24 minutes ahead of time, but they were just too wide, too powerful and too locked onto populated areas to avoid a horrifying body count.

“These were the most intense super-cell thunderstorms that I think anybody who was out there forecasting has ever seen,” said meteorologist Greg Carbin at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

via Tornadoes devastate South, killing at least 290 – Yahoo! News.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    We didn’t get the massive tornadoes but we did get the supercell thunderstorms and over 3″ of rain – beating a record that was in place since 1875. Lots of flooding, a power outage or two, but nothing as severe as Alabama.

  • SKPeterson

    We didn’t get the massive tornadoes but we did get the supercell thunderstorms and over 3″ of rain – beating a record that was in place since 1875. Lots of flooding, a power outage or two, but nothing as severe as Alabama.

  • DonS

    I’ve been in two deadly tornadoes — one in Eau Claire Wisconsin in the early 70′s and one on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1988. We sat in the car, in our campground, for the first one, and in a church basement for the second one. Nothing in my life has been as frightening as those two events. Utter helplessness and fear as the funnel bears down on you, especially when you are sitting in a car, knowing you are a dead duck if it touches down there. I cannot imagine the terror and destruction caused by these massive F5 storms. God bless those who have been impacted.

  • DonS

    I’ve been in two deadly tornadoes — one in Eau Claire Wisconsin in the early 70′s and one on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1988. We sat in the car, in our campground, for the first one, and in a church basement for the second one. Nothing in my life has been as frightening as those two events. Utter helplessness and fear as the funnel bears down on you, especially when you are sitting in a car, knowing you are a dead duck if it touches down there. I cannot imagine the terror and destruction caused by these massive F5 storms. God bless those who have been impacted.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Never seen one. Don’t want to. A tornado is something I can do without.

    And definitely prayers for those in the South that went through such a catastrophic event.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Never seen one. Don’t want to. A tornado is something I can do without.

    And definitely prayers for those in the South that went through such a catastrophic event.

  • helen

    Last June, it was Minnesota. Few died because Minnesotans have basements. But my birthplace neighborhood of wooded farmsteads was stripped for several miles to clusters of tree stumps. They are rebuilding now, but “home” is gone with the wind.

  • helen

    Last June, it was Minnesota. Few died because Minnesotans have basements. But my birthplace neighborhood of wooded farmsteads was stripped for several miles to clusters of tree stumps. They are rebuilding now, but “home” is gone with the wind.

  • Simone

    It got pretty scary here in Georgia, but thankfully our area is okay. My sister was in Chattanooga with tornados, hail, and flooding all around. She is okay as well, but one of the members of the church she was visiting (she works in full-time ministry, traveling around) had their house flattened and the owner is still in a coma.

  • Simone

    It got pretty scary here in Georgia, but thankfully our area is okay. My sister was in Chattanooga with tornados, hail, and flooding all around. She is okay as well, but one of the members of the church she was visiting (she works in full-time ministry, traveling around) had their house flattened and the owner is still in a coma.

  • Grace

    I can’t imagine the terror of a tornado. God bless and comfort, those who suffer from loss of loved ones, homes, and business. Heartbreaking.

  • Grace

    I can’t imagine the terror of a tornado. God bless and comfort, those who suffer from loss of loved ones, homes, and business. Heartbreaking.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Just got power back. The tornadoes went right over our home in Harvest, AL but we’re ok. The developments on either side of us are gone.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Just got power back. The tornadoes went right over our home in Harvest, AL but we’re ok. The developments on either side of us are gone.


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