Monday, May 27, 2013

16 Minutes

16 minutes was the time the people of Moore, Oklahoma had from the time the Huge Class E5 tornado hit there area with over 200 mph winds and destroyed everything in their path. For everyone in Moore this was a moment of truth.

Imagine hearing the sirens and knowing that likely a tornado had touched down nearby. You walk outside or look out the window and notice all your neighbors there doing the same thing with somewhat horrified looks in their eyes. Once you see it and the direction it is going you know you are in for it likely. You think about your kids at the school and you run to you driveway to get in your car to try to go get your kids. You drive towards the school but realize that the tornado is going to hit there before your home. Cell service is down because literally every person that can be is on a cell phone trying to contact or save loved ones. No luck with any cell service either phone or text. You realize as you drive towards the school that this tornado is big enough to pick up cars because you see cars flying along with horses. You roll down your window to throw up and then quickly screech your tires in another direction realizing you are no good to your family dead. You drive as fast as your car will go in the opposite direction as the tornado. Then you look back and notice it is still coming in your direction. So, you go in a sideways direction away from it.

As it passes you know things are not okay in Moore, Oklahoma because pieces of things are flying in all directions as the super tornado passes over. After it passes you try to drive back home but your home is gone and there is so much rubble from cars, trucks, pieces of houses and horses flung every which way that you finally have to get out of your car to walk to your house. Your house is gone with everything in it. Now what do you do?

All of us at one time or another have moments of truth like this in our lives. The PTSD from this experience kicks in with nightmares off and on for days, weeks, months or years to come. Counseling sessions for your kids help them deal with the day their old lives ended. Do you stay and rebuild your house or move on? I suppose it depends upon a lot of different factors what you will decide to do in the end.

This reminds me a little of a time in 1971 in California
  1. 1971 San Fernando earthquake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The 1971 San Fernando earthquake (also known as the Sylmar earthquake) ... Other sites throughout the Los Angeles area had been instrumented as a result of local .... The large amount of slip observed there did not correspond with a short ...
  2. Sylmar earthquake [updated] - Framework - Los Angeles Times
    Feb 9, 2011 – 1971 Sylmar earthquake destroys two hospitals. ... PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bruce Cox / Los Angeles Times ... Los Angeles Times article, 64 people were killed, two hospitals and two major freeway interchanges were destroyed ...
  3. San Fernando Valley Earthquake 1971 Sylmar California - YouTube
    Oct 1, 2009 - Uploaded by TheEarthquakeChannel
    The 1971 San Fernando earthquake (also known as Sylmar ..... Alaskan Earthquake (1964) The Big ..
    end quote from
    It reminds me of an experience I had in the 1971 earthquake with buttons above. I had been the last night down in Palm Springs to a drive-in theater to watch the movie "Mash" long before it became a TV program. In 1971 I was 23 years old and had moved with my father an mother to the high desert for a while as work was slow for my father and I during the winter then because of a recession likely. So, we were wintering in a friend's house in the desert that was a vacation home. I had returned the previous night quite late because it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to drive from Palm Springs to Yucca Mesa where this house was that we were renting for the winter. 
    I woke up and realized an Earthquake was going on. However, since Earthquakes were more common in the second half of the 20th century they were at least a monthly occurance most places in southern California. But they were usually little ones under 4 or 5 on the scale. So, as I bounced a little on my bed I thought, "Ok. This is going to pass in a few moments like all the rest." But it didn't. It was the longest and scariest earthquake I have ever survived. It went from a 3 to a 5 to a 7 and it just wouldn't stop. After what seemed like a minute or two I realized that we likely weren't the epicenter (Likely Los Angeles or San Diego was) and I began to feel like maybe this was a nuclear explosion because it never ended. I started to pray as I started to bounce all over the bed. I knew I couldn't stand up because this was the worst quake I had ever been in. I was really scared in a way I had never been before in an earthquake. Finally, it slowed down and stopped and I only had minor bruises from hitting the wall and the sides of the bedframe of the bed. I felt tears well up in my eyes in grattitude for still being alive.
    As I went into town to see what was going on there was a lot of damage to stores as many things had broken and fallen off shelves and people weren't quite right because they sort of had wild looks in their eyes from this experience as well as the aftershocks. 
    A friend I met later said she and her husband were going to CSU Northridge at the time and they woke up to all their books hardbound falling on them in their bedroom of their rented apartment. They 
    couldn't walk but crawled over to the window as windows were breaking all around them. Telephone poles were falling over and electric lines were falling in the street and arcing all over the place. Cars were moving and crashing into each other and apartment buildings various places collapsed. 

    Later, I went with a Sierra Club group studying the Earthquake Faults with a friend from UCLA who was attending there at the time to see the faults and the damage done especially where the hospital collapsed on all the people where the roads had 3 to 6 feet differences like 3 to 6 foot cliffs in the middle of roads. This was the worst Southern California Earthquake I ever personally witnessed.

    Another experience was only a 5 point earthquake more recently when my daughter was about 5 years old. She was in my cousins swimming pool and I was watching the news in the living room. I ran for my daughter when it hit and sounded like an explosion. Luckily my daughter was on a float in the middle of the pool and not near the edge where she could have gotten a concussion on the side of the pool. She was wondering why all the water was flying out of the pool? The entire walking area around the swimming pool was flooded with spilled water then. She was okay and I was grateful.

    Also, we have tornadoes sometimes in California too but usually they are water spouts and when they come on shore the most damage they do is take the roof off a shed or destroy a green house. They don't usually have the capacity to destroy a home. But we do get 100 plus an hour winds off the ocean periodically which knock pine trees down and close all the roads in our area. But this happens this bad only about once every 5 or 10 years. And even then there are enough people with chain saws to fix the roads and remove the trees within a couple of days.

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