A Better St. Louis. Powered by Journalism.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Print
  • Email

It's tornado season, and time for planning is now

In Region

7:21 am on Fri, 04.20.12

If you live in Missouri, Illinois, or any neighboring states, your chances are pretty good for coming under a tornado watch or warning, or even the real thing. This week, the National Weather service confirmed 59 tornadoes over the previous weekend, striking Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

ASIDE

Missouri and Illinois came out unscathed — this time. But that wasn’t the case seven weeks earlier, when a tornado blew through Harrisburg, Ill., and left seven people dead, or Joplin, Mo., where a terrible twister killed 161 people last May.

In parts of north St. Louis County — including Berkley and Lambert St. Louis International Airport — and the Sunset Hills area in south county, repairs are finally complete, or nearly so, after tornadoes hit those areas over holiday weekends. The north county storm hit last year on Good Friday, which fell on April 22. The south county storm struck on Dec. 31, 2010. However, on Lewis Place, a tiny street in north St. Louis that was also hit by that New Year’s Eve tornado, recovery efforts continue.  

According to the National Weather Service, “Most tornadoes occur in the deep south and in the broad, flat basin between the Rockies and the Appalachians, but no state is immune. Peak months of tornado activity ... are usually April, May and June. However, tornadoes have occurred in every month and at all times of the day or night.”

The statement on the weather service's website warns: “Remember, tornadoes can occur at any time. The time for planning is now.”

The Beacon, using the Public Insight Network, asked readers to share how they prepare for storms, and how they respond when they learn that inclement weather may be heading their way.  Those who responded all said they pay close attention to radio or television reports when they hear a storm warning. They keep flashlights and extra batteries handy, and in most cases, they head to a safe place in their homes.

A CERT truck
Provided
A CERT truck

Elizabeth Campbell of Bellefontaine Neighbors has worked as a volunteer with the Community Emergency Response Team in helping people recover from storm damage.

“Usually, I check the weather alert radio and check the sky, west of the house,” she wrote. “The Good Friday storm in St. Louis came my way. I was a half block away.” Her house had minor damage.

“I was lucky,” she wrote.  She had to replace her roof, and the repairs are now complete.

Campbell wrote that she believes special alarms should be required in businesses and factories. “You can’t hear anything except the factory machines. Rarely do we hear thunder during a storm. We would never know,” a tornado was approaching, she wrote.

“As a CERT member in Ferguson, we train year round and refresh our skills. CERT programs should be more frequently used and promoted. … More people should participate and we would all be safer. And all students in junior high and up should train in these things. Society needs to wake up and participate and be prepared.”

Tasha Burton
Provided
Tasha Burton

Tasha Burton of Ferguson wrote: “The Good Friday storm only affected us with a power outage, however, just a block away, businesses and homes were damaged."

Burton wrote that since the storms of last year, she takes the warnings more seriously.

“Before the Good Friday storm, when we would hear the siren one time, we usually didn't go to a safe place in the home. We kept a close watch on the TV. If the siren sounded again, we would go to the basement. After the Good Friday storm, after hearing the siren once, we now go to the basement. During the Good Friday storm, we eventually moved into an interior bathroom space located in our basement. The sirens wouldn't stop and my dog — usually a telltale sign of bad weather — was very anxious. He was panting and would not keep still. We have a weather radio, flashlights, cell phones and more that we take with us.”

Ellen Reed of University City wrote that she always pays close attention to the weather, and is usually aware of potential danger, even before storm warnings sound.

"I always respond. I have a weather radio, lots of water in various places throughout my house, and I keep a backpack with emergency gear in case I have to flee with my animals. If I am in the basement because a storm is imminent, I take my keys, purse, animals, leashes, blanket, water, a small bag of animal food and meds — they go in the backpack when we are in a bad storm period.

"In 2011, I watched the weather constantly and released staff when the weather was really dangerous. I also unplug my electronics, take my laptop to the basement with me and run it on battery to track radar. I am a complete and total disaster nerd," she wrote. 

Reed suggested that businesses “partner with the Red Cross and emergency management to do neighborhood-wide preparedness planning at neighborhood churches and community centers, starting with our most vulnerable neighborhoods — those most at risk of building collapse and no-insurance for emergency repairs. Planning at the neighborhood/family level should include designation and promotion/publication of emergency shelters.”

No Comments

Join The Beacon

When you register with the Beacon, you can save your searches as news alerts, rsvp for events, manage your donations and receive news and updates from the Beacon team.

Register Now

Already a Member

Getting around the new site

Take a look at our tutorials to help you get the hang of the new site.

Most Discussed Articles By Beacon Members

Conference of American nuns will mull response to Vatican charges

In Nation

7:55 am on Fri, 08.03.12

Meeting in St. Louis next week, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will have its first opportunity as an assembled group to consider what to do after the Vatican issued a mandate for change this spring. It calls on the conference to reorganize and more strictly observe church teachings.

The 'free' Zoo

In Commentary

7:51 am on Tue, 05.22.12

When a family of four goes to the St. Louis Zoo, they can be forgiven for not knowing it will cost them $60, $72 if they park. If they can't pay, the alternative is to tell the kids they can't do what kids do at the zoo.

Featured Articles

House sends Boeing incentive bill to Nixon

In Economy

12:55 pm on Fri, 12.06.13

The Missouri House easily passed legislation aimed at attracting production of the 777x, a move that wraps up a legislative special session that saw little suspense and few surprises. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, who has strongly supported the legislation.

Gandhi inspired Mandela on South Africa's 'Long Road to Freedom'

In World

10:10 am on Fri, 12.06.13

Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, was a towering moral figure of the 20th century -- along with Mahatma Gandhi. It was no coincidence that Gandhi and Mandela, whose paths never crossed directly, both embarked on their campaigns against discrimination in South Africa. It was when Mandela won election as South Africa’s first black president that Gandhi's influence became apparent.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Encore: Dead before death

In Performing Arts

12:58 am on Fri, 12.06.13

For years , the author was certain he would never come to appreciate The Grateful Dead, let alone be a Deadhead. But little by little, he's come around. He talks about his conversion and relates a real evolution: by a musician who went on to play with the Schwag, a Dead cover band.

Featured Articles

Schlichter honored with St. Louis Award

In Region

4:57 pm on Tue, 12.03.13

The attorney has founded Arch Grants, which brings together nonprofit philanthropy and commercially viable opportunitiesto fund new business startups, and Mentor St. Louis, which finds adult mentors for elementary students in the St. Louis Public School System. He was the driving force behind the state's historic tax credit program.

BioGenerator sets open house to celebrate new digs for entrepreneurs-in-residence

In InnovationSTL

12:29 pm on Tue, 11.12.13

BioSTL's BioGenerator organization is on the move as its entrepreneurs-in-residence find a new home in 4,300 square feet of office and conference space in an old automobile factory. The blossoming program, which helps BioGenerator's portfolio companies to get off the ground, continues to pay dividends within the growing biotech community.

Ambassadors aim to soften rough landing for St. Louis immigrants

In InnovationSTL

6:34 am on Fri, 11.08.13

The St. Louis Mosaic Project is set to hold an orientation for its new ambassadors -- dozens of foreign and native-born volunteers who aim to help make the community a more welcoming place for those from other nations. Participants will be expected to do everything from visiting local restaurants serving international cuisine to having dinner with an immigrant to the area.

Recent Articles

More Articles

Innovation and entrepreneurial activity are on the rise in St. Louis, especially in bioscience, technology and alternative energy. The Beacon's InnovationSTL section focuses on the people who are part of this wave, what they're doing and how this is shaping our future. To many St. Louisans, this wave is not yet visible. InnovationSTL aims to change that. We welcome you to share your knowledge, learn more about this vibrant trend and discuss its impact.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Featured Articles

Featured Events:

More About The Beacon Home