Saturday, March 03, 2012

"...Where The House Used To Be..."

Tornadoes screamed through southern Indiana (and nearby states) yesterday, strewing schoolbuses like jackstraws. The little town of Maryville is described as "gone."

Local media has the skinny -- and links where you can donate to the Red Cross.

Even in downtown Indianapolis, we had chickpea-sized hail and winds that shook the roofs at work; satellite dishes were flexing and wobbling.

For all the talk of "Zombie Apocalypse," or more serious concerns about economic collapse, your region's version of extreme weather is the most likely civil emergency you will face. Have you made preparations? Do you have a plan? Do you realize it's unlikely to survive contact with reality intact? (You need that plan nevertheless: gotta start somewhere.) Being ready is more than what you have stocked up and thought through; it's an attitude.

Live helicopter images showed locals out within an hour of the disaster, checking on their neighbors, most walking carefully down the middle of streets, visibly wary of the many possible hazards. One woman opened her basement to a busload of high-school students as the storms bore down. That's a survival mindset; I wonder how many of those kids are lending a hand in the cleanup/recovery efforts already underway, but it's an easy bet it's more than would have been if they hadn't had shelter from the tornado.

13 comments:

Brigid said...

Glad you and Tam are OK. Up North we had snow and rain and wind, and watched helplessly on the news at the radar coverage.

SGB said...

Glad you guys made it through okay.

Stranger said...

Well, let me suggest you give cash instead of kind, and donate to the Salvation Army instead of the Red Crescent.

The first prevents people in cold climates from getting Bikinis and those in hot climates from getting thermal underwear and fur coats.

The second is a matter of efficiency. The SA's overhead is much lower, and from what I can hear between static crashes the meal trucks and SATERN emergency comms trucks are coming into the afflicted areas very quickly. The clothing trucks will be right behind them.

And yes, I have experience with both.

Stranger

Underground Carpenter said...

Hi RX,

First order of business is finding or building a shelter that you'd want to run to instead of from when the weather turns inclement. Of course, that one's out the window if the zombies start shambling about. They usually carry crowbars and shovels and such, so it's only a matter of time until they break down your door.

Dave

Roberta X said...

You call them "zombies," others call them "undocumented undead." Hey, they only came to your refuge looking for work. Oh! --And brains. Braiiiins.

;)

Spartacus said...

I know this isn't supposed to be political, but since Indiana has pretty much bucked the trend during "The One's" tenure how much do you want to bet there's negligible if any return of Indiana dollars sent to FEMA after this? If Obama wants to buy votes now is his golden opportunity.

Spartacus said...

U.C. (Dave) That's why you always follow the rules laid out in "Zombieland". I think rule 1 was always double tap, but it might have been rule 2 after always wear your seat belt or maybe rule 3, always look in the back seat...we're doomed.

Roberta X said...

I often wonder what people --including no few FEMA staffers -- think they do. The agency is not a first responder; and a lot of the useful things they do early on are more in the way of support and co-ordination, things like the EAS system or their Waffle House disaster-mapping (it works!) that can't be denied to states 'cos they're already there.

*Long-term* relief is something they do that they can screw the states on, but for various reasons (interfacing with 'em at a low-enough level to avoid politics, or making sure higher-level interactions get news coverage), it is not usually any more problem than most interactions with fed.gov agencies: yeah, it sucks, there's a lot of paperwork and it is often more trouble than it is worth, but they do that inherently and, no matter their intent, the PITA appears to be relatively uniform.

Jennifer said...

Glad you guys are okay. Being right in the heart of tornado alley, we've got some bit of clue about the mess those things leave behind. Stay safe. Glad to see everyone is pitching in too. That's just the neighborly thing to do.

LabRat said...

We are prepared for fire and flash flood. (In case of the latter, we are prepared by living within less than a mile of a deep canyon, which is better drainage than can be bought any other way.) Wind, not so much, but beyond the irritating it is usually not a concern here. Basements cannot be built- too much volcanic rock.

It is a finger on the pulse of a community's health what the residents do when disaster threatens and their neighbors need shelter, food, or water. A healthy community is immeasurably better than FEMA, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross combined in some disasters.

Don said...

Friday night I tried to get a friend who lives in Marysville home. We loaded up my truck with tools, etc. We planned to stay at his home, (land? in my truck?) and help out over the weekend.

No go there, saith the PoPo. Only authorized personnel and that ain't you. Nothing to see, Citizen. No, I don't care that you live there. No, I don't know where you can go.

Saturday we eventually got in. His family's OK, but severe damage to the house and yard.

Apparently, only "authorized" government approved agencies can offer help from outside.

Roberta X said...

"Gatekeeperitis" can be a big problem after disaster has hit, though proof of residence can sometimes trump it.

Flip side: I very nearly added a discursion on the dangers of downed power lines to my original post. This can be a huge problem, as they are protected by self-resetting breakers and will keep trying to reset until the problem is cleared. Power companies will shut off the ones that need shut off (or fix them) but they're not going to endarken an entire disaster area over some subset of downed lines: too often, that shuts down functioning and needed branches as well, making things worse. (County Hospital has gensets, but how much diesel have they got in the tanks?)

...Long story short, those wires on the ground can/will kill you and Officer Gatekeeper would as soon not have to ring up Power & Light to come help retrieve your charred corpse (they have more pressing jobs). And he is gonna err on the side of caution 'til he gets an all-clear.

Matt said...

Good points, all. We might yet manage to avoid all the real and plausible disasters lumped under "OMG Zombies!!!", but if you live in the mid-west, tornadoes happen. If you live along the gulf or Atlantic coast, hurricanes happen. If you live along a fault line, earthquakes happen. Et cetera ad nauseam. Some of these more prosaic disasters happen reliably at least once every year to somebody or other in the relevant areas. And yet, many remain unprepared even for them. Sadly, that too-often includes folks who spend an inordinate amount of time planning for "OMG ZOMBIES!".