Calm after the storm

Published 7:24 pm Friday, April 29, 2011

Suffolk residents — those paying attention to the weather reports, at least — were on edge most of the day Thursday as a line of storms swept through town.

After Suffolk saw a devastating F-3 tornado exactly three years ago Thursday, several twisters touched down in nearby areas during an April 16 storm this year. Couple that with the tornado outbreak the same storm brought to other areas of the country earlier in the week, and folks in town certainly had reason to be concerned.

Suffolk Public Schools canceled its after-school activities. The city’s emergency management department was watching the sky, as were hundreds of citizens.

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But, as it turns out, nothing happened.

Clearly, Suffolk residents and officials have learned the lessons of three years ago. They learned that preparedness is key. Unfortunately, with a tornado, there’s little that can be done to secure property against damage. We do know, however, the best way for humans and pets to survive tornados, and that’s what’s most important.

With the exception of earthquakes, tornados provide the least warning of all natural disasters. The best way to prepare for a tornado is to listen to an NOAA weather radio and know ahead of time where you will go to take shelter.

When Suffolk’s April 28, 2008, tornado hit, many folks were saved only because it was only about 4:30 p.m. on a Monday and they had not yet returned home from work. But many other people were saved because they or officials took heed of the warnings and the eerie look of the sky and kept people inside.

A simple amount of preparedness can be the difference between life and death. Take some time out of your sunny Saturday to learn how to be ready for future storms. Visit