On Monday Moore, OK, was obliterated by an F5 tornado that "touched down" for 40 minutes.
40 minutes. F5.
I can't conceive of that violence being on the ground for 40 minutes. (It will never be an EF5 in my mind - I'm too old to change now.)
The images are horrific. Tornado? Massive destruction? Implosion? There aren't any words to describe the devastation. When someone says "it's like a war zone," yes, yes, it is...
24 people died. Including, I believe, 9 children, 2 of whom were babies. At least that's the last I heard. Entire schools were demolished. This morning there was a video taken during the storm. At first it was completely black, with someone screaming in the background. Then there was light, daylight, seen through walls that were no longer there. A water fountain attached to a cinder block wall with the rest of the school surrounding it gone. Children walking around, totally disoriented.
[I am stunned that I am writing a post using words like "obliterated," "violence," "horrific," "destruction," "devastation," "war zone."]
There were heart-warming images, too. The older woman finding her dog on camera, crawling out from under the rubble. The black puppy sitting, just sitting, waiting to be rescued. Just sitting above the body of his deceased owner. (I heard a story later that it might not have been his owner. Either way, they found that person because the puppy wouldn't move.) A neighbor running, full out, to the damaged school to see if the little boy who lived next door, his special little pal, was okay. Their hug, once they saw each other, the way the little boy just jumped into the man's arms. The woman whose neighbor helped find jewelry that belonged to the woman's grandmother in the remains of what was her house.
The stories, OMG, the stories. The mother who covered her baby with her body and was killed saving her own child. The man who held onto his daughter by her hair, refusing to let the wind take her. The 22 people who sheltered in a bank vault and survived.
Interviews with Hurricane Sandy survivors show people saying that this tornado was worse than "what we went through." Certainly it was, for some of us - I lost some food, was a bit cold for a few days. But people on Breezy Point or the NJ shore, for instance, lost everything. Those words I mentioned above? They apply to the loss of homes on Breezy Point and the Shore during Hurricane Sandy. But those victims were interviewed yesterday and they said the suffering from this tornado? It was worse. "We lost a lot. Many homes were damaged. But nothing like the all-out destruction of Moore, OK."
Amazing. Simply amazing. It restores my faith in mankind, that even those people who have every right to feel sorry for themselves can recognize that others are worse off, can sympathize, empathize, can help, can recognize the scale of the destruction...
I'm making a donation to the Red Cross. Are you?