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The Eye Of The Storm: How You Can Survive
Welcome to this week’s Survive The Coming Collapse newsletter, brought to you by David’s book, Tactical Firearms Training Secrets, which goes into detail on how to keep improving your firearms skills in a time of crazy-expensive ammo…if you can even find it. If you own a gun, you need this book. It’s less than a single ticket to the movies and you’ll save more than that in your first 5 minutes of training. To learn more, go >HERE< now. 10% of all sales this weekend will go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in honor of Memorial Day.
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Survival Diva here, starting this week’s post by saying our hearts go out those who lost loved ones or were affected by Monday’s devastating Oklahoma tornado.
Although I had planned to write about wildfires, the post will be offered next week so we can cover the more front of mind topic of tornadoes. If you don’t live in tornado country, rest assured that there are some fundamental nuggets that you’ll still be able to use.
The tornado that touched down in Oklahoma on Monday was an F-5, one of the most powerful tornadoes ever seen. This half-mile wide tornado was unusual in that it remained on the ground for a full 40 minutes with winds of 200 miles per hour. The severe damage it wrought was partially due to the fact that the tornado landed during the day when schools and businesses were open. Moore, Oklahoma, was the hardest hit in the 20 mile swath of destruction brought by this tornado.
As many as 13,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed. Saddest of all is the death toll, which is being reported as 24 souls while searchers continue to search through the rubble.
Yahoo News, The lookout, in an article written by Holly Baker, Man ‘Totally Helpless’ As Storm Razes Home describes what one man experienced:
“Anthony Connel watched the tornado head straight for his house – but it was already too late. ‘I just felt totally helpless’, Anthony Connel was sitting in traffic off of South 149th Street, about a mile from his home, when he saw it happen: A dark black cloud, so ominous and wide that it didn’t even look like a tornado, dropped to the ground-and headed straight for his house.
But there was something different about this tornado, Connel recalled in an interview with Yahoo News.
“It was just this big black cloud on the ground. You couldn’t even tell it was a tornado. And it didn’t seem to be moving. It just keep getting bigger and bigger,” he said. Watching the twister take direct aim at his largely rural neighborhood just east of Interstate 44, Connel realized he was about to lose everything. He knew his neighbors were in his storm cellar (his wife, Virginia, was at work) and believed they would be safe, but he also knew that his home probably wouldn’t survive.”
* * *
The town of Moore was given sixteen minutes warning before the tornado ripped through the town, which gave little time for people to react and get out of harm’s way. Add to the problem of such short notice is that few have basements, which may appear to be a terrible oversight, but the truth is, Moore Oklahoma residents don’t have basements because of a high water table and high concentrations of clay in their soil. Clay can expand up to 30% when saturated, and will shrink when dry, which can lead to structural failure. Because of this issue, very few have basements in which to protect themselves.
(David’s note: For those of you who, like me, grew up in tornado country, having ANY “formal” warning is a gift. ANYONE who lives in tornado country should take it on themselves to become an armchair meteorologist. After making yourself aware and a few close calls, you get to where you can sense and even smell tornado conditions.
Add National Weather Service tornado watches and warnings when cyclonic action is seen to your natural senses, and it’s rare that you’ll ever be “completely surprised” by a tornado.)
I remember when first moving to the Huston, Texas area (years ago) and being surprised to discover there weren’t any basements. The problem there was similar to Oklahoma; a high water table (water can sometimes be found at the 10 foot mark!) and clay, but because of hurricanes, more than one old-timer had wisely dug root cellars into the earth…no matter the water table.
Historically, the states that suffer the most from tornadoes are located east of the Rocky Mountains, although tornadoes have been known to land in other parts of the U.S. Point in fact; in the late 1980’s, a tornado barreled through Yellowstone National Park, leaving a swath of destruction up a 10,000 foot mountain.
The highest concentration of tornadoes happen in what’s called “Tornado Alley,” which runs from Texas to Canada and the core of reported tornadoes are concentrated on Oklahoma, Kansas and northern Texas. Another tornado-prone area of the U.S., known as Dixie Alley, includes the states of Alabama and Mississippi. Another hard-hit state is Florida.
Have Plan & Know How To Spot Signs Of A Tornado
Familiarize yourself with the signs of a tornado; there have been cases where a tornado appeared so quickly there wasn’t time to sound a formal warning.
The following are signs to watch for from the Storm Prediction Center, written by Roger Edwards.
- Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
- Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base — tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!
- Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can’t be seen.
- Day or night – Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder.
- Night – Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
(David’s note: these flashes look more like an LED flash or a welding arc rather than like an incandescent flash.)
- Night – Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning — especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.
Have a plan in place and practice it as a family or a group to increase your odds of survival. Practice allows you to take immediate action without hesitation.
What NOT To Do
Avoid the myth that opening windows will help to avoid the damage of a tornado. It doesn’t, and instead will allow damaging winds to enter the home and will waste valuable time.
If you live in a mobile home, it is imperative to have an alternate location to go to. Their tie-downs cannot withstand the ferocious winds associated with tornadoes and it’s why we often hear of fatalities of people found in mobile homes in the aftermath of a tornado.
Even though it’s often believed that when traveling in a vehicle, the best protection is to seek shelter under a bridge, experts say absolutely not! The reason? A tornado’s winds can slam debris under bridges, bridges have been known to collapse, and there is the possibility the winds from a tornado can carry you out from under the structure and suck you into the tornado.
When traveling, do not remain in your vehicle, nor should you flee to a vehicle for safety.
What TO Do
Stay away from windows, even in basements. During a tornado, most people are injured from flying debris, and glass is one of the bigger culprits.
If possible, move below ground. If a basement, a root cellar, or another below ground structure is not available, go to the location you’ve chosen which puts as many layers of protection between you and the tornado as possible—typically this location will be an inside room located in the lowest floor of a sturdy structure or a hallway.
If there is nothing more than a bathtub available, head there.
Protective coverings such as a mattress can help protect you from flying debris.
If your safe location is an interior room or hallway, take cover under a sturdy structure like a heavy table.
If you are in a building or skyscraper, immediately move away from windows, head directly to the lowest floor possible and when a stairwell is available, head there.
If you are caught in a tornado in a store, a mall, Church, or a theater, move to an interior bathroom, a storage room, or any small, enclosed area.
If you are in a vehicle when a tornado hits, and you’re far enough away from the tornado and it’s NOT headed towards you, the best option is to travel in the opposite direction and laterally to get out of its path of destruction. However, if it’s barreling down at you, take shelter in a sturdy structure if possible. If a structure is not nearby, get as far away from the vehicle as time allows and hunker down in the lowest spot possible, covering your head with your hands.
(David’s note: I vividly remember being in a car with my parents in a wide open stretch in the Midwest, popping over a hill, and seeing the biggest, nastiest, wall of thunderclouds I’d ever seen (or seen since.) We turned around, and went in the opposite direction as fast as our V8 would go…only the storm was at an angle and didn’t have to follow the road. Geometry was against us and the storm was gaining. We finally saw a house with a basement and got out with the intent of breaking in if nobody was home and sheltering there. The owners were home, let us in, and I’m here today to talk about it. The storm ended up having several tornadoes and LOTS of huge hail. Point being, some things you can prepare for…others you figure out on the fly based on the foundation of a solid plan.)
How To Protect Your Storage Cache’s & Documents
If you’re anything like me, when you’re gone from your home for any amount of time, there’s always that nagging feeling that you could return to disaster; someone broke in, or a natural disaster took out months or years of prepping.
This possibility becomes doubly concerning when you’ve sacrificed for years to get prepared and know how hard it would be to recover from getting wiped out from a single event.
For that reason, I have included a post David wrote that discusses how to protect your preparations and documents.
…At some point most preppers run up against buying preparedness supplies and laying them up in their house…wondering what happens if the house goes away and everything gets wiped out at once? The loss could be from a tornado, hurricane, tsunami, flood, industrial accident, wildfire, or even a robbery or a band of marauders after a disaster.
You’ve not only got your survival supplies to keep safe, you’ve also got important legal ownership documents and documents that prove to strangers that you are who you say you are.
There are two components of this challenge that you should think about and the actions that you take are going to be based on where you’re at in your preparations.
First, we’ve got identity and legal documents. I believe you should have multiple copies of these regardless of your situation. You can make copies and store them in a safe deposit box, scan or photograph them, encrypt them, and store them online, or scan/photograph them, encrypt them, and store them on a thumb drive that you keep in your vehicle(s), at work, and/or with relatives.
I can tell you from experience that this one act is a much bigger deal than you may think. Let me share a couple of examples…
- A few months ago, I got a phone call from our security company saying that our home alarm was going off. While I was concerned and headed to the house immediately, I also had immediate comfort knowing that all of our important documents were backed up in multiple locations. It ended up being a false alarm.
- A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to get on a plane to come home and heard reports of several major tornadoes headed towards our city. Again, it would have been horrible to lose our house, but we were comforted by knowing that we had multiple backups of everything that we’d need if our house got destroyed.
Second, we’ve got survival and preparedness items to think about. When you’re just starting out, you don’t REALLY have that much to lose, even though everything you have is precious. Specifically what I mean is that you don’t have enough to lose to add additional expense and complexity to your life in the form of keeping your stuff in multiple locations.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you get to the point where you have six months of food and supplies stored up and you’re continuing to buy more. Something that you might consider doing is taking 3 months of your supplies and stashing them somewhere. Where you store your supplies is going to depend on your personal situation, but it might be in a storage unit, in an RV, at a hunting lease, in a barn at your parents, or even buried somewhere.
The options for where to put your stuff are almost limitless, but you want to try to pick a place that would hopefully survive if your home got destroyed and vice versa. In other words, if you live next to a mini-storage facility, you might want to use a mini-storage that’s a few miles away so that a single tornado wouldn’t be likely to take out both places at one time. If your home is in a floodplain or on the coast, pick a place that isn’t likely to flood. If you have a very long commute to work, you might want to pick a location that’s close to your work. If you are dead-set on bugging out and not staying in your home after a disaster, pick one or more locations along your planned bug out path.
I’ll be covering Caching to a MUCH deeper level in a soon-to-be-released book, so be on the lookout for that.
(Some people think that I’m anti-bugging out…that’s not exactly true. I simply believe that it’s foolish to have bugging out as your ONLY plan since so many things have to go perfectly right in order to be able to successfully bug out of an urban location after the masses have started trying to get out of Dodge after, or in anticipation of, a disaster. It’s great to have a bugout plan…just make sure you also have a www.SurviveInPlace.com plan in place in the event that you can’t bug out.)
I can tell you from personal experience that having stuff stashed away from the home makes the process of leaving in a hurry MUCH faster. I am comforted in knowing that we can wake up in the middle of the night to a raging fire, get out of the house with no more than ourselves, and know that we would have the ability to hit the ground running the very next day. We’d have a certain amount of shell shock, and there would be pain and frustration, but we would have food, clothes, and all of the documentation necessary to prove that we were who we claimed to be and owned what we claimed to own.
One of the biggest drawbacks of having your survival and preparedness gear in multiple locations is that you increase your risk of having items stolen. RV’s, mini-storage units, your parents’ barn, and most other locations probably aren’t the most secure. The tradeoff is that if you have multiple locations and one gets hit, you won’t get wiped out. I’ve gone this route, and have had a location broken into and stuff stolen. As painful and expensive as it was, I simply stopped using that location, found another one that was more secure, and started replacing what got stolen.
If you’re interested in following a step-by-step plan to get all of your vital documents backed up and securely distributed to multiple locations, I want to encourage you to check out my www.FastestWayToPrepare.com course. In addition to taking care of your documents, this six module written and OnDemand video course will walk you through the absolute fastest ways to get prepared for natural and man-made disasters. We’ll cover the basics of shelter, fire, water, and food and also the vital topics of communication, medical/trauma care, security, and more. This course is designed for people who know they NEED to prepare, but don’t have the time to do it. Thousands have successfully gone through the training to date with great feedback.
If you were impacted by a tornado, or any other disaster, please share your experience by posting below. There is a huge difference between following the expert’s advice and actually living through it! Have you specifically prepped for natural disaster, and if so, please share what’s worked best for your situation!
For those reading the book, Implant, chapter nine, part 2 of 3, is now available. You can Click Here to continue reading.
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva