Snow or Beach?

I woke up this morning and sent my wife some photos of the 6 to 9 inches of snow we’ve received in the St. Louis area since 9:30 p.m. Friday.  In response, she sent me a picture of the environment where she is today.  Snow or beach?  I think she has the better deal.  Agree?

Snow-BeachNuff said.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

News of Deadly Oklahoma Tornado Brings Back Memories

News of the deadly tornado that killed more than 51 at least 24 in Moore, Okla., Monday brought back memories of another painful episode in the book of Oklahoma living.

Before moving to the St. Louis area, my family called Norman, Okla., home.  Having grown up in the Sooner State before traveling the world as an Air Force couple, my wife and I knew — or thought we knew — what to expect.  We did not, however, expect what took place one evening 14 years ago.

Like most of our neighbors in northwest Norman, we lived in a typical three-bedroom home that did not have a basement or a safe room.  It may seem strange, but few homes in the state (a.k.a., “tornado alley”) had such amenities.  Everyone with a television set, however, did have legendary local weatherman Gary England.

On that memorable evening, I paid close attention to England’s reporting on dangerous storms traversing the state from the southwest to the northeast.  When he told television viewers to seek shelter underground immediately or face certain death, I made a critical decision; for the first time since moving to Norman three years earlier, I drove my wife and three young sons to an underground public shelter at a nearby elementary school.

Though the powerful F-5 tornado did not hit our home, it left a mile-wide path of destruction just a few miles north in Moore while packing the strongest surface winds ever recorded on earth — more than 200 miles per hour.

Television news reports during the days that followed featured video footage showing the tornado’s path stretching for miles and resembling what a giant vacuum cleaner might leave behind (i.e., nothing that resembled the homes and businesses that had been in the path of the tornado moments earlier).

All of that took place on May 3, 1999.  I’ll never forget it.  Today, my heart goes out to those impacted by the storms that hit central Oklahoma this week.

Pray for Okla

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Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Scores Killed as Storms Pummel South (Update)

Videos from Alabama provide contrasting views of a powerful, mile-wide tornado that was part of a storm system that has killed at least 72 people in four states — including 58 in Alabama — as of late Wednesday night.

The first video, from WALA Fox10TV, shows the twister as it destroyed homes and businesses in and around Tuscaloosa, Ala., after touching down at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday

The second video shows the twister in the area of 15th Street as it approaches Tuscaloosa from the west.

Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE 4/27/11 at 11:12 p.m. Central: A third video shows CBS42 weatherman warning viewers in the path of the storm to take cover from the dangerous storm.

UPDATE 4/28/11 at 7:25 a.m. Central: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting 128 dead in Alabama, 32 in Mississippi, 11 in Georgia and five in Tennessee as a result of yesterday’s storms.

UPDATE 4/28/11 at 3:14 p.m. Central: Death toll from storms rises to 269.

FINAL UPDATE 4/29/11 at 8:11 a.m. Central: Dozens of tornadoes kill at least 297 people in South.

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STORM VIDEO (Update)

Just had a storm, packed with tornadoes, hail and high winds, blow through the St. Louis suburbs. Of course, I filmed it — 30 seconds of thunder and lightning.

UPDATE 4/23/11 at 8:20 a.m. Central: Below is the CNN video showing damage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

UPDATE 4/23/11 at 8:58 a.m. Central: Below is the KSDK-TV video showing damage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

UPDATE 4/24/11 at 7:15 p.m. Central: While taking my wife to Lambert St. Louis International Airport on Easter Sunday afternoon, I had one of my sons shoot video of the damage done by a Good Friday tornado along interstate 70 West of the airport and at the airport.

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