Friday, March 02, 2007

The Storms

My immediate family was quite lucky yesterday, our home was not affected by the storm and all my family is safe. (My Aunt Janan's home was damaged by the storms, but I don't know yet to what extent, but no one was hurt.) Many others here in Alabama were not so lucky. There does not yet seem to be a consensus on the death toll, but just the fact that there were deaths is saddening to all.

I have to wonder if the events at Enterprise High School will have any affect on schools' severe weather procedures. Many schools sent their children home yesterday while others kept them in and followed the traditional severe weather plan of sitting in the hallway and covering one's head. Enterprise obviously chose to implement the latter plan. reports:
Students at Enterprise High School were taking cover when it was hit. (Watch scenes of destruction Video)

"The whole building just collapsed on everybody," said Chase Baldwin, a student at the school. "A bunch of people were trapped under cinder blocks, and people had their heads cut open."
This would seem to indicate that the traditional plan is really quite useless in the event that the building is actually hit by a tornado. It is true that there is little one can do if the building receives a direct hit from a tornado, but it is still clear that the current procedure does not actually make the children any safer.

It would seem to me that schools could (should) provide a safer plan. They could either build storm cellars or cancel school on days when they know the weather is going to be severe, as many schools did yesterday. This was not a surprise storm system. The news weathermen had been predicting severe storms for Thursday for several days.

Anyway, it just seems to me that yesterday's events should call into question the efficacy of the current severe weather plan for Alabama schools. I will be curious to see if any changes result from it.

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