Much of a town flattened. Entire neighborhoods reduced to piles of debris. Hundreds injured. More than two dozen killed. It’s a grim reminder that the confluence of weather systems in the central U.S., specifically masses of cold, dry air from the north and fronts of warm, moist air from the south, don’t mix well. Kansas has the unfortunate distinction of the most reported tornadoes per square mile; Oklahoma is second. In any given year, Texas usually has the most tornadoes.
Often they appear in singles, but in many cases a single weather system generates a series of tornadoes; in November 1992, a weather system generated the longest continuous tornado outbreak, a 41-hour stretch from Nov. 21 to Nov. 23. The most prolific was the April 25-28, 2011, outbreak, which spawned more than 350 tornadoes. A death toll higher than 100 is rare, but the so-called tri-state tornado of 1925 took 695 lives throughout Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.
But those are just facts. They can’t take into account the human suffering—dealing with vast losses, grieving for the dead, healing the wounded, and trying to make sense of it all. How do people cope? How do they start over?
It’s also a reminder that businesses need to prepare. Tornadoes aren’t common in every state, but storms and natural disasters can strike anywhere. If you haven’t developed a disaster preparedness plan, you might be interested in reading an article about Independence Tube Corp., a manufacturer that developed a plan that probably saved more than a few lives and helped get the company back on its feet a year after a big disaster.
If you don’t know where to start, go to the end of the article, where you’ll find a list of resources for developing a disaster preparedness plan. You might save a few lives and your business.