Tornado Season: Are You Prepared?
(SOUTH SIOUX CITY, NE) - We're no strangers to tornadoes here in Siouxland, especially big ones like the Little Sioux twister of 2008 and Mapleton in 2011.As you see the pictures in Oklahoma, the destruction can be horrendous and deadly. Nearly five years ago, a tornado hit the Little Sioux Boy Scout Ranch on June 11, 2008 killing four scouts and injuring 48 others. We caught up with the father of one of the survivors who made sure a camp in South Sioux City would never experience that same tragedy.
The sound of a tornado siren still stings Brian Moore's ears. The then 13-year-old boy experienced a nightmare no one wants to imagine. He survived a tornado that killed four of his fellow boy scouts. His dad felt helpless waiting to hear the fate of his son.
"For five and half hours all of the parents in that one room were wondering the same thing - Did not know whether their son or their child was dead or alive."
Finally, Steve got a call from Brian that he was okay. Now he's making sure parents who put their kids in his care at Camp Goodwill won't have to worry.
"We were not going to be that camp. That we were going to go above and beyond what is needed to get a storm shelter to protect these kids," said Steve Moore, Brian's dad.
"We have windows in our room, but these are steel door shutters. These are cement board filled shutters. These doors weigh approximately 200 pounds and then they close and then lock in with a bolt in three positions," said Moore showing the shelter shutters.
The room is designed as a storm shelter whereas you might see a building be a designated storm shelter. That doesn't mean it can withstand an EF 5 tornado like the Camp Goodwill room.
That's why Woodbury County Emergency Services Director Gary Brown says you should have a plan for the whole family and most importantly listen to weather alerts.
"They need to take the warning seriously because these storms, when they become super cells, they're very violent. They move very fast and they do an extreme amount of damage in a very short period of time," said Brown.
Make sure to have a disaster kit handy including medication, baby essentials if needed, non-perishable food and water to last up to seven days.
Brown says if you're caught on the road when severe weather strikes, don't try to outrun the storm.
You may have heard the rumor to take cover under an overpass, but it's actually not the safest spot. Instead, get to a low-lying area like a ditch and duck for cover.
"We still recommend not to go up inside of the overpass, on the interstate overpasses, up on onto the bridges," said Brown. "It tends to be an area where a lot of debris collection takes place. People think it's safe, it's really not."
"Understand what those two differences are between a watch and a warning. And educate yourself on what, why and how they develop," said Moore.
Just to clarify a "Tornado Watch" means the conditions are right for a tornado. A "Tornado Warning" is more severe. It's when someone has spotted a tornado or a tornado is indicated on radar.