Bryan McCormick and I sat in the Storm Center this afternoon watching this tornado unfold. We have the ability to access the Oklahoma City Doppler radar site on StormTRACK Doppler 8. The images we were seeing as the storm moved into Moore, OK were astonishing. But, they were not as horrific as the images after the storm passed. The above picture is from the AP. It shows a mother carrying her child from property of Plaza Towers Elementary.This is the site where several children died today because of this violent tornado.
I showed this image at 6:00 when the Associated Press released it on Twitter. I started my weathercast with it and a flood of emotions hit me while I was live on air.
I'm a dad. I have 4 kids and instantly I thought of them. I pictured each one of them in the arms of my wife. I pictured each one of them going through a scary moment in their life. I thought of the feeling this mother must have had when she KNEW her child was not one of the dead. I also thought about the parents that did not carry their children home tonight. That's tough to think about...
Tornadoes are real. They disrupt life. They kill people. They kill children. They are to be taken seriously.
Far too often, the meteorology community gets giddy about storms, and tornadoes. Far too often, the weather community gets excited when the ingredients are coming together for a severe weather event. I'm sure I'm guilty.... especially in my younger days.
I promise to never get giddy over tornadoes again. A colleague of mine, Dave Freeman, at KSN once reminded a group of us to never root for the tornado. ALWAYS root for people. Wise advice.
So, tonight... as I sit in the storm center watching a decaying line of storms move into Region 8, I pray for the families that lost loved ones. I'm not sure if this is right or not, but I'm praying even more for the parents that lost children. I simply can't imagine the pain.
Pause and pray for all of the victims in the Southern Plains that have been impacted over the past couple of days. Also, hug your kids.