The numbers are staggering:
- 453 tornadoes in April
- 250 tornadoes Monday through Wednesday of this week (150 on Wednesday alone) in 16 states
- 280 (as of this writing) people killed this week–sure to exceed 300 as search and rescue efforts continue.
The massive outbreak of tornadoes across the US this week is unbelievable. Or it would be if there weren’t the heart-breaking photos and videos and interviews with the people whose homes and/or businesses were destroyed. And knowing that it will take years for them to recover, if they ever do.
I’ve spent more than a few hours this week (and last) hunkered down with the remote in hand, flipping through channels, trying to find out why the sirens were blaring and if I should get into “the position”. That’s terrifying enough, but other than one storm, I never felt seriously threatened. I can’t imagine the horror of sitting in the darkness and hearing the shrieks and screams and then the devastating quiet.
And here I sit today, a little sleep-deprived but entirely unscathed, wondering what I can possibly do to help. Two things came to mind, almost immediately:
1) Donate money. The Red Cross and Salvation Army are on the job, doing what they do best in disaster situations—providing on site assistance to victims and rescue workers. Click on those links to find out how to donate $$$.
2) Donate blood. The American Red Cross has already sent units from its blood banks. Those will need to be replenished. Click here to find out about any potential blood drives in your area.
The immediate Memphis area escaped tornado damage. There are trees down here and there, but nothing on a wide scale. Our biggest threat is potential flooding. The Mississippi River is expected to hit the 41-foot mark this weekend. Flood stage is 34 feet. The river is so high that the creeks and smaller rivers that run into it don’t have anywhere to empty and are now running backwards.
Here’s what the greenbelt near my house looks like today:
The bridge is about 10 feet (or more) above the actual walking/riding path, which is adjacent to the Wolf River, one of those rivers with nowhere to go since the Mississippi is beyond full. With the big river expected to crest at somewhere between 43 and 48 feet on May 10th, many of the subdivisions and businesses in the surrounding areas will be taking on water. It’s already creeping into parking lots and surrounding roads. I suppose it’s possible that the bridge in the photo could go under water before it’s all over.
I’m fortunate to live a couple miles away. The creek near my house is deep enough to handle more water but will flood businesses and homes further west.
So if you will, in addition to considering a donation, join me in keeping those affected by these storms in your thoughts and prayers. They’re going to need them as more storms are forecast for this weekend.