Studying the Louisiana and Kentucky Tornadoes

I recently returned to the field to meet with tornado survivors of the 22 March 2022 Arabi, Louisiana, tornado, and several locations in Kentucky that were impacted on 10 December 2021. We are grateful to all who shared their experiences and are working hard to make some good come from these tornadoes.

I continue to collaborate with an engineering team that is part of the broader StEER network. If you are willing to share your experiences with us, please reach out: dzaras@ou.edu. We know this is a very difficult time and wish everyone the best in recovery.

Below are several resources that we hope will help in recovery and in dealing with storm stress:

If your home must be rebuilt:

We encourage you to build back stronger. Building codes are a minimum, like earning a “D” grade in a class. Most homes are built to take advantage of gravity, but strong winds exert sideways and upward forces. When built with a continuous load path, your home will resist those sideways and upward forces and hold itself together longer. Strong winds from tornadoes and other windstorms do not last long. Seconds count. And consider this: even if your home is “totaled” you want it to provide protection for you, your loved ones, and your belongings. We encourage you to take five minutes to watch this video on the research: https://vimeo.com/237087513

Look for information on FORTIFIED Gold and build back stronger.

If your home can be repaired:

Consider making any part of the framing that you can access stronger and/or a safe room. Learn more: LaDue-Roueche-Resources

At the very minimum, consider installing a FORTIFIED roof. The most common impact to homes is water damage inside after losing some roof shingles. Did you know that the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) has ratings for roof shinglesThey have carefully studied the real properties of hailstones and can mimic them in their test facility. They are also studying other aspects of weathering.

Storm forecasts can be stressful:

Experiencing a tornado or other severe storm is traumatic, and you may find that it’s hard to stop reliving the events in your mind. You may find yourself cringing at noises that remind you of the event. There are many others who have gone before you, be it with storms or other traumas, and there are lots of resources to help.

Empower yourself by being more knowledgeable and prepared for the next time storms come. Visit: https://www.weather.gov/oun/stormanxiety

Prepare for storms:

  1. Know your local geography
  2. Get information from official, reliable sources
  3. Have 3 ways to get storm alerts and warnings
  4. Know where you will go if you need to take shelter

Do you need immediate emotional help? The Disaster Distress Helpline1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call or text 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

For longer-term care, here’s how to find a counselor trained in trauma.

And there is here is information for helping children who have been through a tornado.

And finally, for those we have spoken with, here is a copy of our March 2022 consent form:

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