Darrell Osman of Harrisburg, Ill., has given some of the best advice we have heard lately. He urged people to purchase weather-alert radios as a way of being prepared for severe weather.
Osman took his own advice and was woken up by the radio alert warning of tornadoes near his city. “The peace of mind you get from it sitting on your dresser is well worth the cost,” he said.
Yes it is.
We repeat Osman’s story that he told to the Associated Press as he sifted through the debris of his mother’s home, which was destroyed by the tornado. The heartbreak is that Osman’s mother was killed by the storm.
The Goshen area, like Harrisburg, is routinely in the path of tornadoes. The Palm Sunday tornadoes of 1965 were the most horrific example we have of how destructive these storms can be. More than 50 local people were killed by those tornadoes.
Since 1965 we have had plenty more tornadoes touch down. In 2007 a large tornado struck the east side of Nappanee on Oct. 18, twisting factories, businesses and homes into a tangled mess of rubble. Fortunately nobody was killed in that storm.
Then in 2009 four small tornadoes struck the Goshen area and made a mess out of South Eighth Street when they uprooted and broke off trees, tossing them onto homes and power lines. The damage to the neighborhood is healing, but stumps and shorn trees are still evident.
That same outbreak also hit rural areas near the city and tossed barns as if they were toys.
Then in a weird deja vu event, a small tornado struck Nappanee last Sept. 27 and removed a few roofs and frazzled nerves, but did not injure anyone.
All of these outbreaks should prove to any doubters that tornadoes can and will strike the Goshen area when they are least expected.
And we are concerned that some of our local residents take storm warnings with a grain of salt. Each time there is a tornado warning we watch in amazement as people drive around the city as if nothing is wrong — that if there is a tornado, it will hit somewhere else.
With all our long history of tornado strikes in Elkhart County, it would seem to us that storm and tornado warnings and watches should always be taken seriously.
We urge our readers to do as Mr. Osman suggests and purchase weather-alert radios. Most every hardware and big box store sell them. We also encourage people to call and text their friends, family and neighbors when they hear about a storm warning. Maybe the other people haven’t heard, or are asleep.
The National Weather Service is warning that more Midwest storms are coming. Take the warning to heart and make sure your family is ready for the worst.