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In Focus

Mother Nature has been pretty extreme this year. We went from snow to a 13 day tornado streak across the U.S.

AccuWeather reported they logged at least eight tornadoes per day during that streak, breaking a 39-year-old record. Two of them were rated EF4 tornadoes, one that hit Linwood, Kansas and another one touched down at Dayton, Ohio.

We know it’s tornado season. Many are updating their tornado kits and preparing for the worst, just in case. But we tend to forget there are new people moving to the Midwest that have never experienced this kind of weather before. My father being one of them.

He and the family recently moved to Ohio, near Dayton. You can imagine my surprise waking up on Tuesday, May 28 to see a Facebook post from my stepmother telling everyone about the tornado. They were spared and everyone was okay.

While I was thankful to hear that, I figured since their internet was working it couldn’t have been that bad. But then I turned on the news.

For most of us that were around when the tornado hit Wadena, we can’t help but to compare every tornado to that one because that is the one we experienced: the clean up, chaos and everything that goes along with that. We know what tornadoes can do.

Watching the news and seeing the footage of the complete destruction I wondered how my family was really doing. I called my dad, no answer. Maybe the cell towers were down after all. That afternoon he got back to me. It was spotty reception and kept cutting out, but I was able to hear the tornado brushed by about a half mile from their house. There was debris in the yard, but no visible damage to the house. As the tornado hit at night, they were all in bed and slept through the storm.

Dad was upset he never heard a siren. I explained it’s not meant for people indoors and he should have had an alert on his phone. They don’t bring their phones to bed. Well, they do now. I can’t help but to think how lucky they were without having any notification and sleeping through the storm.

Then I had to ask if they had a tornado kit.

“A what?” he questioned.

I explained to him what to put in it and some things you won’t see on a generic list of supplies, such as a copy of a recent utility bill to prove that it is your residence, as well as a copy of insurance policies and such, pictures of the family in case they got separated, leashes, food, vet records for the dogs, a bike helmet for my little brother, list of medications and more.

The following day we started our own kit and brought supplies over from a neighbor who doesn’t have a basement. That also included a 55 gallon water drum. A bit extreme for me, but whatever, it will work for three people and a hoard of animals. It sounded like my dad got his kit done in a day. I can’t say I blame him.

Welcome to the Midwest, dad.

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