Too Close for Comfort

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Stercutus
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Too Close for Comfort

Post by Stercutus » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:05 pm

Had a tornado touch down about half mile North of the house today. Not overly pleased. Thrilled it didn't hit the house, not thrilled it was so close. Had to make a difficult to decision to leave the family and go out in the storm to assist and check on one of our local first responders who was out working when the tornado blew through and caused a tree to fall and strike his vehicle while he was in it (also about half mile away). He was not injured at all. He was damn lucky, had been 50 feet closer to the tornado he would likely been much worse off.

Also thrilled that the tornado shelter has been built and stocked (sort of). I need to organize and label all the stuff that is in there now. Before I built the shelter I had it all organized on shelves. I bought a bunch of tubs and dumped it all in tubs and placed them underneath the benches I built in the shelter and was planning on organizing them later. It is now later.

I also need to run power and alt power to the shelter and put the other finishing touches on it.

Was very pleased with the county VFD/ FD response. All major North-South roads in the county were closed due to trees being down and they cleared all the highways within two hours. Still working the secondary roads.

Need to mount the winch on the ATV. The ATV can go just about anywhere when the roads are blocked. It can pull smaller trees out of the way with the winch, if it were mounted.

Need to make a list of things to take to the shelter that I use daily so I am not forgetting stuff. Totally forgot to bring my radio down and had to run back upstairs to get it. Some other stuff too.
From this day to the ending of the world,
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We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by raptor » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:47 pm

Tornados are one of only a few things that gets my attention...my full and immediate attention.

A good stout shelter and the expeditious use of it is about the only prep that will work for these bastards.

It sounds like several people had some good luck. If you are caught in the open without shelter your options are few, run in a direction away from the apparent movement or hunker down in a ditch. Neither IMO are good choices.

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by flybynight » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:13 pm

A year ago, my wife and I sat eating supper at the kitchen table while a storm rumbled and blew outside. Unknown to us at the time a tornado dropped less than a mile from us No sirens, radio alert, text
Or anything . If I had been outside looking south , would have seen it. I know exactly when it dropped though because of the cows bellowing next door. Sometimes your only warning is personal observation. I knew something was up cause of the cows behavior.
As close as we were, our son was driving not more than a few hundred yards from that tornado. He pulled over when he lost all visibility and the rain went sideways. Crazy stuff. Glad y'all ok stecutus
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by TacAir » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:16 pm

Scary indeed. I was sitting in a barracks in Bolixi MS watching it rain fish from a nearby tornado.
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by Asymetryczna » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:56 am

People that live around tornado country usually take them very seriously. In the spring of '74 I remember seeing several in the sky and the town of Xenia, OH, north of us and just west of Dayton, was blasted that day. You can find articles and videos about it. (33 Killed, 1150 injured http://xeniatornado.com/ )Normally, there were signs. Heavy rainfall followed by a sudden stillness. Then came the hail. This was followed by what sounded like a train in the distance. The entire row of houses, one street over from where my wife grew up, lost their roofs or worse. When the conditions are ripe for them, we always leave a radio or tv on since the weather alerts where we live are very good. And the door to the basement is left open. And momma stands by that door.
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by Stercutus » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:27 am

we always leave a radio or tv on since the weather alerts where we live are very good.

Our county system uses a siren/ text to phone system with radio/ TV as backup. I was blissfully watching streaming TV for the NCAA Tournament when the sirens went off. My phone was two rooms away set on vibrate.

A few years ago they added local emergency warnings to Satellite TV as it was out of the local loop. Now with streaming being so popular TV is often again out of the loop. One of my children did have have his phone on him and he said it went off the same time as the sirens. Something to cognizant of if you stream as opposed to Satellite/ Cable/ Over-Air.

One of the complaints today was that many of the sirens in the area were known not to be functioning. This is peak tornado season here and there is not much excuse for that.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by 12_Gauge_Chimp » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:30 am

I've only experienced a tornado twice in my life.

The first one was back in 1990 or so when my mother, siblings and I all hunkered down in various closets in the house we lived in at the time. My dad wasn't home at the time and spent his time watching the tornado while sitting in his truck with a friend. Dad was too drunk to drive home, so he decided to just sit in the driveway of his friend's house and watch the storm roll by. Thankfully, the storm was over in a matter of minutes and it mostly hit open farm land. Still, it was enough to scare 4 year old Chimp.

The next experience came years later on an early morning trip to Galveston. My mother had some surgery scheduled at the hospital in Galveston (only place that could do it because of Mom's insurance) and as we were driving through a small town on the way over there, we noticed the wind picking up and that the lights in the town had gone out. Not thinking much of it, we get to the hospital and one of the doctors asks if we had any trouble getting there and asked what route we took. My mother tells him the route we took and I swear the doctor went as white as his lab coat. He manages to tell us that we had driven through a town that had been smacked by a small tornado (or very heavy thunderstorm) and that it was possible we had driven right through the storm.

Looking back on that, I doubt it was an actual tornado and more like a heavy thunderstorm, but my guess is the doctor probably got them mixed up. Either way, the dude was freaked out a bit.

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by flybynight » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:34 am

Asymetryczna wrote:People that live around tornado country usually take them very seriously. In the spring of '74 I remember seeing several in the sky and the town of Xenia, OH, north of us and just west of Dayton, was blasted that day. You can find articles and videos about it. (33 Killed, 1150 injured http://xeniatornado.com/ )Normally, there were signs. Heavy rainfall followed by a sudden stillness. Then came the hail. This was followed by what sounded like a train in the distance. The entire row of houses, one street over from where my wife grew up, lost their roofs or worse. When the conditions are ripe for them, we always leave a radio or tv on since the weather alerts where we live are very good. And the door to the basement is left open. And momma stands by that door.
Xenia shares a distinction with another town in KS.

" In February 1860, the Irving Town Company was incorporated by the Territorial Legislature. Irving was once a thriving community of over 400 residents with numerous businesses, churches, hotels, a school, two lodges and a newspaper. The town suffered from droughts and a grasshopper invasion in 1866 that darkened the sky, eating all the leaves from the trees and the crops from the fields.

However, the greatest disaster occurred the afternoon of May 30th, 1879. On that day, Irving attracted national attention when two tornados from two separate storm systems leveled the town on the same day. Until the Xenia, Ohio tornado in 1974, no other town in history was every hit by two tornados in the same day. The national media attention of the Irving tornado brought to Kansas the title �The Cyclone State� calling it the storm of the century killing 66 people along its path, 19 in Irving alone; the most to date in Kansas history. Little was known about tornados at the time. The weather bureau, then known as the signal service dispatched a young sergeant by the name of J.P. Finley. Finley�s published his findings in "Professional Papers of the U.S. Signal Service, No. 4." Most of Finley's detailed report forms the basis for our knowledge of tornados at the time. Sergeant Finley�s work at Irving and elsewhere in Kansas in June 1879 stood as the most comprehensive tornado-outbreak study until University of Chicago researcher Ted Fjuita's work on the outbreak of twisters in the Midwest on April 11, 1965. Finley�s accounts from the Irving tornado and others afterwards make him one of the founding fathers of meteorology.

However, what is more intriguing is the famous resident killed in Irving from the 1879 tornado. Daniel Fitzgerald, the author of Ghost Towns of Kansas and website http://www.danielcfitzgerald.com/irvingtornado1879.html described the event from historical document stating, �As the funnel entered the town, the first house it hit was that of the John Gale family; the wind blew them outside and stripped them of their clothing. Dorothy Gale was wedged head first in the mud, her body sticking straight up in the air. The visual picture was gruesome, and newspapers described it that way all over the country. In a later reference to this tornado, it was noted that L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz books, had as his main character a young girl named Dorothy Gale. At the time of the Irving tornado, Baum was a salesman who traveled all over the Midwest.� Baum then moved to South Dakota in 1888, editing the local newspaper, The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, where he wrote a column, Our Landlady. Baum's description of Kansas in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and characters in the book are based on his experiences as a business owner and editor in South Dakota. But there is little doubt his inspiration for Dorothy Gale from Kansas came from the newspaper accounts of the Irving tornado in 1879.

In 1903, the Big Blue River flooded the town of Irving, washing away homes and bridges. A series of fires destroyed most of the downtown in 1905, 1907, 1913 and 1916. The 1916 fire destroyed the whole north side of the main street. The town survived numerous natural disasters and fires, but it took a man-made event, the building of Tuttle Creek Dam in the Blue River Valley, that finally doomed Irving to eternal ghost-town status in 1960. Unlike some of the former communities like Old Randolph that are submerged by the waters formed by the dam, the former Irving town site, including its streets and the foundations of a few old buildings, are still visible. Most of Irving is now a wildlife refugee. Former residents hold a picnic and reunion each year at the monument site. Visitors can still walk the streets of Irving.

Address:

General Location � Approximately five miles southeast of Blue Rapids, Kansas at the intersection of 12th & Zenith Road in Marshall County.

Directions:

From Blue Rapids, Kansas: Travel southeast out of Blue Rapids on Vista (11th) Road for 3.5 miles to Zenith Road. Travel east on Zenith Road for 1 mile to the intersection of Zenith & 12th Road."

http://www.backroadstouring.org/kansas/index2.htm
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by Halfapint » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:58 am

Very scary indeed, glad the first responder is ok.

Nothing like a real disaster to show you where you're lacking on your preps. I'm glad you got your shelter built and stocked. Sounds like only minor things need to be done, labeling and organizing are things that you don't realize until you really need them. I've been working on that myself I try to label everything I get when I put it away. Painters tape has been working very well because when I'm done with that container I often fill it with something else and the tape is easily peeled off.

You mentioned backup power, how are you going to wire back up power? I assume genny, but would you want to run a genny when a tornado is nearby? Sorry, I'm not very familiar with storm shelters. I've only been through one tornado while in Kansas and it was when I was very young.
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by RickOShea » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:27 pm

Seen a bunch of water spouts over the years. One particularly stormy day, while my crew was taking lunch at Mullet Point, we could see three spouts out in Mobile Bay. Most of our tornadoes down here are the smaller EF0 and EF1's....though, instead of targeting the trailer parks, they seem to like running straight down the power lines, and taking out a dozen spans at a time. We do catch hell from microbursts, especially in July and August when we have our regularly scheduled uber-thunderstorms.Image
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by Stercutus » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:33 pm

Halfapint wrote:Very scary indeed, glad the first responder is ok.

Nothing like a real disaster to show you where you're lacking on your preps. I'm glad you got your shelter built and stocked. Sounds like only minor things need to be done, labeling and organizing are things that you don't realize until you really need them. I've been working on that myself I try to label everything I get when I put it away. Painters tape has been working very well because when I'm done with that container I often fill it with something else and the tape is easily peeled off.

You mentioned backup power, how are you going to wire back up power? I assume genny, but would you want to run a genny when a tornado is nearby? Sorry, I'm not very familiar with storm shelters. I've only been through one tornado while in Kansas and it was when I was very young.
For the shelter I was looking at a small battery pack of two RV batteries and two inverters 150/ 750 Watts with DC lighting. I used this before I had a generator when living in hurricane country. It was pretty easy to keep charged with a solar charger and top off with an automobile idling.

My storm shelter is not typical of the smaller sit down shelters that are popular out here. I built it in the basement as protection against the house getting totaled and falling in on the basement. It is a heavily reinforced, stand alone 10X12 room with some benches lining the walls. The benches can double as makeshift beds in the event of a longer warning. We have had warnings go on for upwards of four hours in rougher weather.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by Halfapint » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:58 pm

Stercutus wrote:For the shelter I was looking at a small battery pack of two RV batteries and two inverters 150/ 750 Watts with DC lighting. I used this before I had a generator when living in hurricane country. It was pretty easy to keep charged with a solar charger and top off with an automobile idling.

My storm shelter is not typical of the smaller sit down shelters that are popular out here. I built it in the basement as protection against the house getting totaled and falling in on the basement. It is a heavily reinforced, stand alone 10X12 room with some benches lining the walls. The benches can double as makeshift beds in the event of a longer warning. We have had warnings go on for upwards of four hours in rougher weather.
Good idea, with the lighting, seems easy enough. Sounds like you've got quite the shelter, good thing to have in tornado country! Stay safe. Update with what you do for the lighting/power I'd be interested to see what you've done.
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Re: Too Close for Comfort

Post by Squidi » Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:23 am

Stercutus wrote: Our county system uses a siren/ text to phone system with radio/ TV as backup. I was blissfully watching streaming TV for the NCAA Tournament when the sirens went off. My phone was two rooms away set on vibrate.

The federal government bought everybody here Weather Alert Radios ( https://midlandusa.com/product-category/weather/ ) when they were destroying all of the chemical weapons, just in case they had to evacuate. I bought one of the nicer Midland ones after the free one died. It has a pretty loud alarm, and I have it set to ignore Warnings and Flash Floods. It pretty much only goes off for Tornadoes.

My tornado shelter has cheap led sticky back strip lighting run to a couple of 7ah SLA batteries in a marine battery box. I pull it out and charge it every 3 months. It will run those LED lights for really long time. Your shelter sounds like it could have regular lights and then if you lose power, switch over the batteries.

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