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Old 01-17-2010, 10:14 AM
3,339 posts, read 7,184,932 times
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LOL, I keep thinking of things to add, forgive me!

When you watch the news footage after a tornado outbreak in any part of the country, you usually see toppled barns and outbuildings. Last year, one camera crew focused closely on a barn that had been destroyed by a tornado -- and neglected to show the house on the property that was nearly intact! If it bleeds, it leads...

And one more thing before I shut up. I am writing this a few days after the earthquake in Haiti. First off, a tornado doesn't cause anywhere near the damage that an earthquake can do. Tornadoes don't usually do widespread damage; they're selective. Secondly, we often hear that we should have a 3-day supply of food and water in case of an emergency. Not a bad idea, but one of my fears, which I now realize is ridiculous, is that I would be trapped for days in the rubble of our house by all the tornadoes that had specifically targeted my neighborhood.

Then one day, a friend laughed at me and said, "Tina -- you live in Johnson County, Kansas!! Do you honestly think that emergency services wouldn't be on your property within minutes of a tornado??" I had to agree with her because even during a heavy snowstorm, there are plows going through here on the hour. We do get our tax dollar's worth.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:37 PM
180 posts, read 439,620 times
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Thank you everyone for some reassuring comments and for trying to put things into perspective.

Thank you Tina for your compasionate comments. It is nice to hear that someone can understand what I am feeling.

I have lived in Missouri before, and never worried. But where I live now has sort of freaked me out. I currently live in Kentucky, and have been here about a year. Kentucky, as a whole, is not well-known for tornadoes. In fact, the county I live in, only had 7 tornadoes from 1950-2000. But then, after I moved here, I learned this:

My city of 55,000 has been directly hit twice by tornadoes in just the past ten years, one of which was an F-3. Both happened in off months, January and October. To make things worse, I learned that my apartment building was almost completely destroyed by the F-3 one in 2000, and was rebuilt in 2001. Nobody died, but the damage was extensive. I have seen pictures that were hard to imagine.

So though I did not experience them myself, it has sort of freaked me out knowing that a tornado did directly hit the very spot where I am right now, which is in an area a lot less prone to tornadoes than Kansas.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:51 PM
Location: Washington, DC area
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As a child, tornadoes used to scare the **** out of me. I remember hearing trains and thinking they were tornadoes. I think it was mostly due to TV coverage or just movies etc.

Now, I'm the one outside looking for one while my wife and kids run downstairs every time a warning is issued.

I have lived in the midwest all my life and have never even come close to one. Even with they do hit metro KC, they rarely injure anybody, let alone kill anybody. People have plenty of warning and you can generally get out of harms way.

Now living in a rural area where news coverage is limited changes things a little and living in a house without a basement and especially a trailer really seems to change things.

But like people have mentioned, the chances of actually being involved in a tornado are slim to none. Just except them as a rare weather event and monitor the weather radios or news when during severe weather and after about 20-30 years of never even getting close to a twister, you will be fine.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:15 PM
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 22,509,046 times
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Originally Posted by cdc1211 View Post
As I consider Kansas as I potential place to live, I can't help but think about tornadoes. It's not that I have never lived in a place where they are possible, just never a place as prone as Kansas.

How can I overcome this fear? I am actually not as concerned about losing my life, as I am about losing everything I own and the place I live in. I don't even own that much, but the idea of starting over scares me. I keep playing out this scenario in my mind that this will eventually happen. I can't help but think that in Kansas, it is inevitable that every place will eventually get hit by a tornado.

I know the main advice everyone gives is "have a plan". I would be renting an apartment, so I have no control over how the building is built, and I won't be able to just run down to my basement during every potential warning. So what do people in this situation do?

Is there such thing as tornado insurance? If so, any idea how much it costs? Is this something I should get on top of normal renter's insurance?

I really like a lot of other things about Kansas. I just need to get over this fear!
I was born and raised in Kansas, but escaped at age 18! Never saw a tornado in my life. Just don't live in a trailer behind a K-Mart (they're tornado magnets) and you'll live.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:52 PM
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 11,887,268 times
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Originally Posted by cdc1211 View Post
Thank you Tina for your compasionate comments. It is nice to hear that someone can understand what I am feeling.
My wife is afraid of them. She's Alaskan. She was summering with some people in Grand Island, NE as a teen and one came along suddenly when she was out and about. She and her other Alaskan friend knocked on some random stranger's door and said, "Oh god, we're scared, we're from Alaska, will you help us?" Of course, there are only three people in all Nebraska who would turn someone away in a case like that, and odds of stumbling across them are remote. And, of course, the folks gave the scared girls shelter and comfort. (Kansas folks would do the same, of course. That's just the Midwest way.)

To this day, my wife is a Cornhusker fan.

I'm not afraid of them, but I have a healthy respect for them, having seen their power. A twister is like a weather god that has suddenly gone all John McEnroe on the earth. Fortunately, the average person is about as likely to get hurt by a twister as he or she is to be punched by John McEnroe.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:06 PM
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Well not being a native I can share this-
I Am scared of them to, but it is all up to my Maker if one gets me
No offense to those that live in them, but avoid moblie homes unless you have a storm shelter underneath. Don't think I could live in one.

One of those NOAA storm radios is handy to have.

We have been in WIchita 3 yrs now, and the sirens only went off once I can remember.
I think we had more tornado warnings in Atlanta, south Ga and Florida than here!!

We have a basement. I keep a couple of jugs of water, flashlight and a big ole sledge hammer if I am alive to bust my way out!

I just remember to pay attention to the sky and TV in case storms are around.

OP, you will be okay! You have bigger odds of rear ending one of these natives that like to stop on the interstate entrance ramps and then use their turn signal to turn on the road
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:13 AM
180 posts, read 439,620 times
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Originally Posted by eon-krate32 View Post
If you want to avoid twisters then your best bet would be to live in bigger cities like Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City (KS). Bigger cities like those tend to have far lower chances of getting tornadoes.

Now honestly if you worried about tornadoes in Kansas then should never live in Weld County, Colorado, which is currently THE SINGLE most twister-prone county in ALL the US since 1950.
Hasn't Topeka been hit by some pretty big tornadoes? 1966 and 1983 come to mind from things I have read.
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:21 PM
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As everyone has already said. Chances are better than good that you'll be fine. I was born and raised there and lived in KC for 19 years of my life. I saw a funnel cloud once and it was a pretty pitiful funnel cloud way in the distance in Shawnee. Saw my first real tornado when I moved to New Orleans!
You will hear sirens. Do not mistake this fact, every spring there is a tornado warning and they do go off. You'll find that a lot of people who grew up in the area will largely ignore these, but until you feel comfortable ignoring them head to the lowest level interior room and cover your head with something (rooms with pipes are best- lots of people without basements will hide in their bathtubs and cover themselves with mattresses)
You will find that many kansans say things like "I don't start worrying until the sky turns green, the wind stops and it starts hailing" or "it feels like a Tornado" weirdly enough, eventually i feel like you just "know"
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:22 PM
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Well, I don't care. I want out of California and I like it in Kansas. I'm willing to play the odds
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:29 AM
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Well well well, apparently we had a tornado almost in our backyard on 9-12-08!! It was just after 5PM, I was home, sirens were going off, and was in the bsaement saferoom with the dogs. I was terrified, especially since my husband was on the phone with me from work, insisting on driving home. The weather hadn't been that bad all day, but we were getting the aftermath storms from Hurricane Ike. We hadn't even been under a tornado watch, but then came the sudden warning. I never did hear the winds or rain, and afterwards, there was no damage, not even a leaf knocked off a plant.

So the other day I was looking at a tornado history map, and lo and behold, there it was on the map -- an F0, recorded as a tornado, that passed just over the property across the street from us. WOW -- who knew??

I also learned that in 1952, one of three EF5's in Kansas history tracked right over where I'm sitting right now. I like to think lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place, LOL!
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