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View Diary: Free-Market Conservatism Kills-Oklahoma Buildings Don't Have Safe Rooms Because "Regulation Rankles" (220 comments)

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  •  I live in Oklahoma, and I can tell you for sure (7+ / 0-)

    that the true reason is cost.

    There are people living in this state, although probably not in Moore, in structures that cost less in total than the price of a dependable "safe room." What would you have them do? Honestly, I suspect that "Government regulation rankles" is, in many cases, a euphemism used by people too proud to admit they could not afford it.

    Public shelters in the largest 8 - 10 Oklahoma cities sound like a good idea to me. I live in Tulsa, and many of our commercial buildings actually have basements that would be more than suitable. In fact, one of the hospitals we use has labs, certain treatment rooms, and even its cafeteria in its basement. So, that seems doable, but the parking situation is already crowded and I'm wondering where people would put the cars they'd need to get to a public shelter.

    In my neighborhood of homes built in the 20s, there are several basements, and some of our neighbors "assured" me that they could manage to get my husband into and out of their basements, which I seriously doubt. He weighs slightly more than 200 lbs. counting his 20 lb. wheel chair, the one we keep in our car because it's light enough for me to lift into and out of our trunk. It's so light because it lacks the big hand wheels that would allow him to be mobile without someone to push him. The one he uses in and around our house weighs more than twice that amount just because of the added weight of the hand wheels. Power chairs can easily weigh a few hundred lbs.

    Basements around here tend to have narrow stairs and the one next door to us has a 90 degree turn half way down. I consider it non-negotiable for him. And, our problem is minor compared to some others I've seen around our doctors' offices. Would public shelters be accessible to people with disabilities?

    The income divide in rural areas is extreme. The most expensive homes in Oklahoma would put JR Ewing's ranch  to shame, but many people in rural areas live in trailers! We call them tornado magnets. How close would a mandated shelter have to be? Schools are a different issue, and I'd support basements for all schools, but Oklahoma is already closing some rural schools for cost reasons. Adding a mandate for tornado shelters would probably hasten that.

    I've lived in Oklahoma for more than 60 years and I've seen a couple of tornadoes in the distance. Their path is typically small compared to a hurricane or flood. And, their time on the ground is typically minutes. In 60 years, I've never had a tornado come close to me. Forecasting is excellent these days. If that weren't true, there'd have been a LOT more deaths in Moore.

    Tornadoes don't hit only Oklahoma, and with climate change, I think we'll see some in "new" locations. Do you think federal tax payers are willing to help protect people in a much bigger tornado alley? How much?

    •  Say we scrap 3 new super fighters (5+ / 0-)

      Or 1 new super frigate, and call us safer for having shelters.

    •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
      In fact, one of the hospitals we use has labs, certain treatment rooms, and even its cafeteria in its basement. So, that seems doable, but the parking situation is already crowded and I'm wondering where people would put the cars they'd need to get to a public shelter.
      Saint Francis Hospital. We typically have 15 minute warning of a tornado, and in Tulsa, it's usually at night. When I show up at Saint Francis, it typically takes me 15 minutes to find a parking place. I'd hate to see the roads and parking lots around SFH if people started using it as a tornado shelter.
      I've lived in Oklahoma for more than 60 years and I've seen a couple of tornadoes in the distance. Their path is typically small compared to a hurricane or flood. And, their time on the ground is typically minutes. In 60 years, I've never had a tornado come close to me. Forecasting is excellent these days. If that weren't true, there'd have been a LOT more deaths in Moore.
      Me too.

      "You can never sink so low in life that you can't be a bad example for somebody." - my dad

      by briefer on Wed May 22, 2013 at 09:35:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right, briefer (6+ / 0-)

        My husband was appalled by my plan to put him in the car and drive away from the direction of the tornado if one got close AND its trajectory was in our direction, because one thing he's heard in the 12 years he's lived here is that your car is not a safe place. But, I'm sure that getting the hell out of the way is a better plan than moving to your bathroom in the path of an f5. Looking at the houses absolutely flattened in Moore convinces me.

        Of all the tornados I've watched on televised radar over the years, and yes, there have been many, I haven't seen one take an erratic path. Funnels may come down out of the clouds, go up, and come down again, but they don't tend to move first one direction and then another. In fact, here they pretty much all move from southwest to northeast.

        I did one time get a good view of a tornado from the 14th floor of the Philtower Bldg. It was at least 12 miles to the east, but it still just about scared the pee out of me. I'll never forget it.

        •  The Philtower is right out my office window. :0 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ian Reifowitz, cassandracarolina

          Yes, given a decent amount of time, if I knew an F5 was on the way, and with no safe room, I'd try to move "right angles" to it. The tracks really aren't that hinky.

          That JUST MIGHT work for a few people in cars. I wouldn't put a couple hundred kids on school busses (even if I had them parked at the school), and send them off. The thing about Moore is that the main way to travel is I35. From what I heard, I35 pretty much became a parking lot when the storm approached.

          Sounds like you and I have spent similar hours on end watching storm tracks on TV. :)

          "You can never sink so low in life that you can't be a bad example for somebody." - my dad

          by briefer on Wed May 22, 2013 at 10:52:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You must have different kinds of tornados than we (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ian Reifowitz

          have in Indiana. Most tornados here are very erratic.  The slighted rise in the land may jump the tornado over to the next hilltop or around the county to the next highest elevation.  If you live on flat, flat land that may not be your pattern, but in these "hills" erratic is the name of the game.

          •  OMG, drmah, that sounds a lot like I perceived (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ian Reifowitz, RUNDOWN, drmah

            them to be when I was a child, 50 years or so ago. It seemed we didn't know when or where they'd swoop down out of the sky and strike like some kind of black magic. It's not that way here anymore. The meteorologists actually predicted possible tornadic conditions two days in advance.

            Here, tornadic storms often follow the same path along Route 66 from OCK to Tulsa to Joplin to Springfield to St. Louis. We keep a pretty close eye on what's happening in OKC. If I had to guess, I'd say they're actually riding along the edge of the Jet Stream.

            •  But you have no hills in OK. Look at the geography (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RJDixon74135
              •  Actually, we do have hills, drmah, and mountains (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                drmah

                From Wikipedia, Geography of Oklahoma

                The state has four primary mountain ranges: the Arbuckle Mountains, the Wichita Mountains, the Ozark Mountains and the Ouachita Mountains.[2] Part of the U.S. Interior Highlands region, the Ozarks and Ouachitas form the only major highland region between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians.[3]

                A portion of the Flint Hills stretches into north-central Oklahoma, and in the state's southeastern corner, Cavanal Hill is officially regarded as the world's tallest hill; at 1,999 feet (609 m), it fails the definition of a mountain by one foot.
                [...]
                Its highest and lowest points follow this trend, with its highest peak, Black Mesa, at 4368 feet (1,516 m) above sea level, situated near the far northwest corner of the Oklahoma Panhandle. The state's lowest point is on the Little River near its far southeastern boundary, which dips to 289 feet (88 m) above sea level

                Somewhat like Indiana, we have different geology and different topo in different regions of the state, and more topo than Indiana. For comparison, (from here)
                Indiana has two principal types of terrain: slightly rolling land in the northern half of the state and rugged hills in the southern, extending to the Ohio River. The highest point in the state, a hill in Franklin Township (Wayne County), is 1,257 ft (383 m) above sea level; the lowest point, on the Ohio River, is 320 ft (98 m).
                But, where I live in NE Oklahoma, it doesn't seem to be the topography that drives tornados around, it's the cold air from of the Jet Stream coming south out of Canada colliding with the warm moist air coming north from the Gulf. C'mon down for a visit, drmah, but not in the winter when the icy hills can be killer, or the late spring when the storms spawn the notorious tornadoes. And, if you ever fly between Tulsa and Houston, fasten your seat belt and locate your barf bag. The air turbulence can be pretty dramatic.
                •  I grew up in Ohio River Valley and am very aware (0+ / 0-)

                  of how topology plays havoc with weather patterns. In tornado season we occasionally had "water spouts" from over the river as part of the tornado pattern but they rarely cams ashore.

    •  In other words (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz, RUNDOWN, RJDixon74135

      The wealthy in Oklahoma are taking all the wealth, leaving the rest to do without.

      Greedy creeps.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Wed May 22, 2013 at 12:30:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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