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Monday, May 30, 2011

Obama Visits Joplin Missouri After Tornado Touched Down

President Obama visited Joplin, Missouri one week after the tornadoes touched down, destroying homes, businesses, and many lives along with it. The tornado that touched down in Joplin was determined to be an EF5, which generally means the wind speeds were over 200 mph, was 3/4 wide, and lasted approximately 6 miles according to the NOAA. In contrast, an EF0 tornado has wind speeds of less than 100mph but the "Enhanced Fujita Scale" (where the "EF" comes from) takes many more factors into consideration, such as the level of damage that occurred. The current operational F-Scale, as indicated by the NOAA, can be found here.

Obama gave a compelling message about not leaving Joplin forgotten. Hearing President Obama on the news was powerful enough to make me stop for a moment to listen. I am glad that such a devastating occurrence is getting national and even worldwide media attention. (Obama states in his speech that while he was overseas, world leaders were coming up to him and expressing their concerns for the people of Joplin.)

The tornadoes that touched down in Tuscaloosa, AlabamaRinggold, Georgia and Apison, Tennessee, in comparison, only ranked EF4. There were 142 people killed in  Joplin, Missouri with many more injured, and many people still unaccounted for. In the April outbreak that spanned several days (April 25-28), there were 327 confirmed deaths according to Wikipedia.

Although I'm glad that Joplin is receiving a monumental amount of attention in the media for what was a horrific tragedy, I still can't help but feel bad for the people of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi. Alabama got hit hard, as did Ringgold (especially Cherokee Valley Road) and Apison. Other parts got hit hard as well. But with the exception of the local news, a great deal of the tornado coverage (from April 25-28) got ushered out by the time that we had our power back to see what was going on - by the 29th. The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton promptly took over all the news channels, and just a few days later, President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed by the Navy SEALs. It seemed like everyone quickly forgot all about April's tornado outbreak, except the people whose houses were damaged or destroyed, or who lost loved ones.

Ringgold, GA Home on 5/3/11
I was grateful to the local news stations for continuing coverage, even to this day. Don't get me wrong, I was extremely blessed not to have experienced any extensive tornado damage or loss to myself or anyone around me. It impacted me greatly though, to get to see everything in person. And seeing how quickly the nation forgot all about the tornado outbreak was heartbreaking, even without personal ties to the people that did experience the losses. Jay Leno impressed me greatly by covering the tornado damage, to Tuscaloosa especially but also to the south in general, on his show. He even made mention of how the tornado damage news was quickly pushed aside to make way for the Royal Wedding and the death of Osama Bin Laden.

The bottom line, everyone who was hit by a tornado from April to May, and obviously any other time, is going to be feeling the effects for many years to come. Remember, a home torn apart and lives lost are just as devastating to the people experiencing it - whether it's one home or an entire city. Please pray for the people of Joplin, Missouri. But please don't forget to pray for the people of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and every other area that's been devastated lately. 

For More Information:
NOAA Information Regarding the May 22, 2011 Tornado that Hit Joplin, Missouri
President Obama's Visit to Joplin, Missouri
Transcript of President Obama's Speech During his Visit to Joplin
WTVC's News Special Regarding the April 27th Massive Tornado Outbreak

Cherokee Road in Ringgold, Georgia (After April 27th Tornado Touched Down):


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