It’s here. Over the last couple of hours, I’ve been seeing stories and video out of the Dallas area on a series of tornadoes that rolled through early this afternoon.  Scary stuff.  Storms like that are quite possible here too.
A couple weeks ago, area emergency responders and the media participated in a mock tornado exercise where a strong tornado passed through the western part of Hannibal in the early afternoon. The exercise covered the first four hours or so of rescue and recovery efforts. Emergency managers had to deal with hundreds of destroyed homes, blocked roads, well over a hundred injuries and at least five fatalities known by the end of the exercise.
Canton Missouri and Lima Illinois sustained significant damage because of a tornado in May of 2003.  There is a myth that the river bluffs lessen the effect of tornadoes. It’s a myth. The bluffs in the north bottoms did nothing to slow down the tornado that hit Canton as it headed for Lima.
The warning system gets a bit better each year. I start paying extra attention when severe thunderstorm watches go up to our west. No good can come from being surprised by severe weather. When the watches go up, turn on the radio. Pay attention to the forecasts and watch statements. Keep an eye on sky conditions.
I read yesterday where the National Weather Service will be issuing very strongly worded tornado warnings in the future.  Good idea. If you remember the damage in Canton or saw what happened in Joplin, you know why it is vital to pay attention when the warnings are issued.  Hannibal and Quincy have storm sirens. Quincy tests theirs every first Tuesday of the month. I live a block and half from one of the sirens and it is impossible to miss even with the windows closed. Those siren tests are a good time to quickly review what to do if severe weather really is approaching.