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    Entries in tornadoes (1)


    Yes or No?

    While major storms moved through the Midwest Tuesday and Tuesday night, our excellent youngest son and his lovely wife were traveling I-40W from Memphis.  They were coming to our house for a visit, and knew about the line of storms heading our way.  Upon reaching Russellville, AR, they could see, in the distance, lightning, and the approaching storm.  Little did they know then that two super cells were converging around Ft. Smith, only an hour and a half drive north.  Wall clouds, funnel clouds, storm rotation, as well as tornadoes, were associated with these severe thunderstorms.  When they reached Alma, AR, a phone conference was held between father and sons (our fantastic eldest already here from NYC).  Should they hole up in the Ft. Smith area or make a mad dash for northwest Arkansas?

    One of our nieces left NWA in the late afternoon, headed for the Dallas, TX area.  She knew the forecast and the anticipated severity of this weather event.  The storm overtook her around Atoka, OK so she called her parents for storm information and advice.  Atoka has a Wal-Mart Supercenter, as well as hotels along US 69S.  Should she get off the highway and seek shelter; or drive on through, hoping that the Red River valley and points south was clear of bad weather?

    We don’t have the weather channel, so we were glad to get a phone call from my parents letting us know that GB’s mother was about to be affected by a section of the advancing storm front.  She lives in Sherman, TX with her husband, who is in declining health.  GB discussed with his mom the options she has for storm safety - the hall closet, or a small, rectangular room originally built as a bar.  They are both in the center of the house.

    Decisions.  Some are made almost unconsciously.  Stepping over the shoes lying in the floor verses plowing through the middle of them doesn’t take much thought.  Other decisions require more time and consideration.  Which university to attend, choosing between two jobs, or a move can all have life-altering consequences.  Some decisions are really inconsequential - fish or chicken for dinner?  Others weigh very heavily on us; and the results of some decisions affect not just us, but all those we know and love.

    Good decision-making is, really, a learned skill.  Most folks are not born with the ability to make sound decisions.  And, having to do that quickly can be especially difficult.  Looking at all sides of an issue, gathering information, and listing pros and cons are important for decision-making common sense.  Developing clear and calm thinking is also helpful.  A rational, levelheaded approach to most dilemmas will garner profitable results.

    GB and our eldest checked the available storm information and advised J&A to come on north, post haste.  There was a window between the two cells that was clearly visible on radar.  The massive front, and even one tornado on the ground, was still several minutes west of them.  High winds and rain were just beginning in our area, and the tornado warning had been cancelled.  They ran into their first taste of strong wind and heavy rain about 30 minutes out, but made it on to the house just fine.

    Southern Oklahoma and northern Texas were not in the clear, so our brother-in-law found (online) the designated storm shelter for the town of Atoka, one of the Junior High schools.  They guided our niece there over the phone and she stayed put for two hours.  Later, her brother directed her onto I-30W, around Dallas, to keep her on the backside of the huge line of storms.

    My mother-in-law decided on the hall closet, as the small room has two mirrored walls, glass shelves on the wall, and glassware on the glass shelves.  The storm passed over Sherman without much impact, but they were as prepared as possible.

    Accessing the available information, discussion, and a little common sense enabled good decisions to be made.  The traveling kids (we still call them ‘our kids’, even though they are adults) made it to their destinations safely, and we are thankful.

    We continue to pray for the families impacted by our wild spring weather.  That Tuesday night, cities and towns across Oklahoma and Arkansas were disastrously affected.  Communities, once again, are picking up the pieces.  Other communities, once again, are lending a helping hand.  Good decisions are being made, and those suffering will reap the benefits.