A major tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma yesterday afternoon. So far, the news reports are saying that at least 51 people (as of the time I did this blog) were killed as the funnel sliced through the city, with several children unaccounted for at Plaza Towers Elementary School.
It also reminded me of an event that took place a little over 35 years ago. On a stormy Thursday in May of 1978, I was a first grader attending Anona Elementary. That afternoon, our principal Salvatore Iannone played an air horn over the loudspeaker system. Duck and cover time. Go to your desk and crouch in a way that protects your head.
I would learn coming home that afternoon that a school a few miles east of mine wasn’t so lucky. High Point Elementary on the southeast side of Clearwater had been struck by an EF-3 tornado. News stations breathlessly relayed the bad news, with a couple of students reported lost. It was the first major local news event I could remember, a couple of years before the Sunshine Skyway bridge collapse took place during another May storm.
So yes, the events in Moore brought back some bad memories, and I hope things go as well as they can under such difficult circumstances.
(EDIT, 5/6/2018: The topic came up in the local media recently as the 40th anniversary of tornado passed on May 4th. Three students were killed in those tornadoes, two the day of, one a few days later. Apologies for the error.)