May 24th, 2011



My heart really goes out to the poor people of Joplin, MO. The pictures coming across the media are truly horrific. Joplin has a place in my heart because I seem to stop there at least once a year if/when I travel to Chicago. The halfway point between ABQ and CHI is somewhere between Joplin MO and Tulsa, OK. I usually stop in Joplin on the eastbound trip and Tulsa on the westbound. I guess I am a little embarrassed to say that I had seen relatively little of the actual city. I usually get in late in the evening when all I want to do is grab a burger at Steak and Shake and collapse into bed. It looks like the twister hit about a mile north of the motel I usually stay in (and the Steak and Shake).

Being the disasterologist I can honestly say that I am shocked that we have had 2 major tornadic events with triple-digit death tolls in the same year. It should be noted, however, that events such as this are not new nor even that rare. It seems as though we had gone through a lull over the past few years where only rural areas with a few trailer parks have been severely impacted. It's a totally different story when whole towns get wiped off the map. I drove through Greensburg, KS several years ago after an F5 made a direct hit. It's hard to fathom the power of such a storm to completely clean the landscape of pretty much everything in its path. Just remember that this is not end-of-the-world stuff. These types of events have been happening for a long time and will continue to do so. There are also a whole bunch more of us around which means there are a whole bunch more potential victims.