I sure miss my tornado dog Miss Lady during tornado season. She would get nervous if one was within 120 miles of Hutchinson so if she wasn’t worried I didn’t get excited. The closer they were to Reno County the more insistent she became about going to the basement. Now I have to rely on the weather people to keep me informed as to how close they are to our area.
So when the tornadoes on May 17th started to roll across SW Kansas I was surprised to hear it on TV. She would have already alerted me about them. I could have started to get things ready but would not have gone down to the basement even though she would have been insistent.
On May 17 Tornado Alley came alive again with a vengeance for the residents of SW Kansas. We watched all evening as the events unfolded around Ford county and then on into Edwards county. The little town of Ford is around 15 miles from Mullinville where we grew up.
We know all the little towns that the storm rolled through or near during the evening. Since we were born in Kansas and have lived our whole lives here we are no strangers to tornadoes during spring and summer. But the one on the 17th was a different animal all together.
I think even the weather people that were on air while it was happening were a little surprised by the twin tornadoes on the ground side by side near Ford. It was a strange site when we got to see them back lit by lightening. This year may be a wild tornado year if it continues like it started.
That night I woke up about 2:30 and started to jot notes down on the notepad that lies on the table by the bed. I keep the little pad and a pen there so if a thought or idea about a story comes to mind I can put it down. Then I can work with it in the morning. There were questions that popped into my head through the night to put in this story.
After the Greensburg tornado I learned important lessons on what you should try to save and what not to worry about. I also thought about what I need to do each time to get ready to head to the dreaded basement. I have a definite routine I go through each time.
I learned from friends in the Greensburg area what is important and just what you would miss or regret losing the most. So after the Greensburg tornado I have chosen wisely what I will protect if one threatens our area. The questions you should ask yourself when you are going to put things somewhere safe are listed below.
- What are the most important things that you have in your house? I have a mental note of what I would want to save and some of them are always in the basement, like our photo albums which are things most of us could not replace. Especially the really old photos because even if you have the negatives there may not be anyone that could print them for you.
- Any legal documents that you will need; deeds, marriage license and bank account information of where everything is should be in a safe deposit box at the bank. Hopefully things won’t be as dire as the Greensburg tornado when the whole town was wiped out and if you don’t have that information saved your bank will still be there and if they know you then they can help you.
- Always have your prescriptions with you. You don’t know how long it will be until you could get them replaced……. Especially if the pharmacy was destroyed too. That is the problem one friend had in Greensburg because the pharmacy and the doctors office were both gone and no one had a record of what they needed.
- Be sure you are fully dressed and have shoes on and you have your purse or wallet with you with all the important information about you when you head to shelter. That way you won’t have to try and replace your drivers license and social security cards etc. I imagine if you don’t have your birth certificate then replacing the S/S card would be hard.
My birth certificate is in one of my photo albums which are in the basement. All the photo albums are in one large tub that I plan to sit on if I have to go down for a tornado. With me sitting on the tub, that should keep them safe and the tub sitting still on the floor and the lid on securely.
So the question is: What is important to you and what could you not live without if the worst happened to you and your home? That is the question that will not be easy to answer but you have to think about what family heirlooms you would want to protect and what personal items you would hate to lose.
I have lots of my Grandmother’s items, just small things like a little glass or her wedding ring and watch and doilies she made that I would hate to lose but how can you save them all and still have them where you can enjoy them everyday. It is a daunting task to try and answer all the questions of what you would want to save and what you can’t live without if the worst happens in your area of Tornado Alley. To contact Sandy: [email protected]