“Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain.”

I guarantee Rodgers and Hammerstein had no idea just how badly the wind can sweep on that plain.  Yesterday was a frightening example.  Though the death toll has been lowered from 51 to 24, that’s still 24 who are gone too soon.

Two years ago, my home state was battered by one of the worst series of tornadoes in history.  A massive EF5 roared through my area, going about 5 miles north of me.  I still remember monitoring the weather all day and huddling in my bathroom as that storm passed so close.  The entire power grid for this area was destroyed with one tiny exception — an exit off the interstate only 12 miles from where I live.  Once I learned about it, I made daily visits to the Starbucks there to charge my laptop,  phone,  iPod and  Kindle.

I also made changes to my storm preparedness gear.  Now I have a bike helmet (many storm-related injuries are head trauma and they recommend wearing a helmet if you can), an emergency radio with a crank and solar panel, a battery-operated lantern and a flashlight that straps around my head like a miner’s lamp (great way to keep both hands free and still be able to see).

I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to lose everything, or even worse, to have someone close to you die in a storm like that.  I can only pray for these families.  And I can donate money to help with the recovery area.  Organizations like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army  are helping with donations.  Please consider giving to one of these organizations or to others like it.  I have.  They helped my home state two years ago; it’s the least I can do to return the favor.

Oklahoma, we’re all praying for you.  And like the song says, you’ll be OK.  It’ll just take some time.