Instead of linking to my favorite posts in my archives, I am going to concentrate my post today on the tornado that went through Moore, OK. I have personal connection to this place. My husband's cousin and her family lost their home. Her kids go to Plaza Towers, one of the two schools leveled by the tornado. Her husband checked the kids out right before the tornado hit and they took cover in a stranger's basement. My sister also lives in Moore, she and her family are good. I have many many friends who live in Moore. My daughter goes to a musical theatre academy there. We have heard that at least two of our studio families have lost their houses. We also have two studio families we haven't heard from, who's kids go to the Plaza Towers. Many many of our families are without power and water.
The death toll reported last night was 91. Praise God that the number was dropped to at least 24 when they found people last night. At least seven of those deaths were children at the school. They were in a lower part of the school and they drowned. My heart broke when I heard that. The news reporter, Lance West, choked up on air when he made the announcement.
My daughter's school district put out a phone call at 11:45 that we were encouraged to come pick up our children before 1. After 1:00 they would not release any students until the threat was over. I am thankful that our district did that for us. The tornado that hit the Moore schools intensified very quickly. Within 16 minutes it was an F5 (the strongest) and grown into a 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 mile wide tornado. Those parents did not have time to get to their children's school. We have tornado drills all the time in Oklahoma for this very reason. I want to thank those teachers from the very bottom of my heart for throwing their own bodies on top of children to save them. Teacher's deserve so much more pay than what they get. Same thing with police, firefighters, EMSA workers, even dispatchers.
I am so very proud of my state. We really pull together in times like these. The outpouring of volunteers is huge. The Red Cross is turning away volunteers because they have too many. In the many weeks to come, I know they will need more. I have already signed up for the Red Cross and will just wait on my phone call. My daughter and I will be taking dog food, cat food and towels to a temporary animal shelter for animals that are displaced. I am really hoping we can just cuddle these pets and let them know I am sure their owners are worried about them.
I cried and prayed all night. I got maybe 3 hours of sleep. I have cried all morning. I am just emotionally drained. What makes this even a little bit more scary for me is: my husband is out of town. He left Sunday right before all this scary weather has happened. We got tornados 5 miles north of us and 8 miles south of us on Sunday. Yesterday was headed toward us before it dissipated. We have a storm plan in place. We personally do not have a shelter because my mother in law lives 30 seconds by car away from us and she does. But, I had to get a freaked out kid, all of our emergency kits, and three freaked out animals in a car and to my mother in laws in torrential downpours. I can say I did it, and I was calm about it. I was very proud of myself for holding it all together and getting us to safety. I think that is why my nerves are fried today. I feel extremely bad for my husband because he had to watch all of this happen on TV. I couldn't answer his texts while I was trying to get our stuff in the car and he was freaking out.
Thank you for staying with me through this very long brain dump. It has been very therapeutic writing about it. I just ask that you pray for my great state as we rebuild after these three horrific tornados.
So I don't cheat on the challenge, here is a link to my post from yesterday. I am OK.