Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Devstation.....





Well, after our relief mission to SW Missouri & NE Oklahoma, I had to take a couple of days to soak everything in. From standing at the corner of Hwy 43 & Iris Rd., where 12 people lost their lives including a fireman/storm spotter (see pic #2), to helping clean a field for a widow that lost her whole farm (see pic #1), to seeing the total annihilation of a small community already plagued by tragedy (see pic 3 & 4), I just have a couple of thoughts to share.....
The pic with the flag was at the Racine Fire Dept. flying at half staff in memory of the one who saved several. To him, I say thank you.
The close up of the shed with the mud caked on it was from the widow's farm just off Hwy 43. We, along with several other teams, combed the fields sorting wood from metal, finding all sorts of things. We found small pieces of a home computer, countless splintered 2 X 4 studs, clothes, very small bits of roofing shingles, PVC pipe, tin, electric line that went from their pole into their house, etc. We even found a Polaroid of two toddlers that came from who knows where--I will try to get that back to it's rightful owner.
The main thought that kept going through my mind while I was picking up was that these bits & pieces were this lady's home and her livelihood. It was hard to keep from losing it...to her, I say I am sorry.
The other two pics are from Picher--words can't describe....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Relief mission to NE Oklahome & SW Missouri....

Here is an e-mail that I sent out last night....just to keep you up to date on things.....

Good evening,
After talking to several folks today, it looks like the mission is a go! The scenes that I have heard of are terrible. This mission is going to have a little extra meaning to me. I read where a storm spotter/fireman lost his life while out watching the storm in southwest Missouri. Before you think anything about him as far as being crazy to go out & watch storms, the story that I heard is that when he arrived at his assigned intersection, there were several cars with people panicking and one fellow even changing a flat tire. He warned the people to leave immediately but the tornado caught up to him and swept his vehicle away, critically injuring him. He passed away today. He saved several lives that day and paid the ultimate sacrifice and left behind a two year old baby girl.

I have had a few donations but we still need much more. We need things like diapers, baby food/formula, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, gloves, and possibly water. I am holding out hope for another big donation of water. You can drop off items at New Life Baptist Church--but call me first so I can make sure somebody will be there to accept your donations and thank you!!

The plan as of now is to leave early Saturday morning and return Saturday evening. After delivering our donations, we will hopefully spend time either volunteering in a shelter or helping folks clean up. Our destination will be Picher and to go into southwest Missouri and then back home. I have yet to make any solid contacts in these areas but I know that I will. I have heard of several churches open as shelters in & around the Seneca, Mo area. I also know that it's unlikely that Picher will rebuild, but that actually makes the pain that these folks are going through worse and they need to see the hope & love that we can share with them. They will need these supplies, especially water they can drink while picking up what is left of their belongings and lives.

If you would like to help either donate items or to go with us, please call me at 918-808-4683. It would be a blessing to see us carpool up there with 20 or so people like when we went to Coffeyville last year!

Thank you and God bless,
Jeff Smith Children & youth director
New Life Baptist Church
Verdigris, Oklahoma

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Deadly tornado outbreak in Oklahoma, Missouri

Here is a graphic from the Storm Prediction Center that depicts all of the storm reports from yesterday.

May 10, 2008 will long be remembered as another very bad tornado outbreak. As of this writing, over 20 people have died in this tragedy, including infants. I really have no explanation why I didn't chase yesterday, but I didn't. I called and apologized to my station, as I feel that I let them down.

The ministry that I head up, Mission of Compassion, is already making plans to go either to Picher, or into southwest Missouri, where there is total devastation. we will be gathering supplies to be distributed to folks that have lost their homes like water, diapers, food, hygiene items, etc. As I woke up this morning I cried and cried because of this tragedy. I have to help, it's my calling to comfort those in need.

I know that the Red Cross is already on scene, but there are always places that the Lord provides for us to deliver these badly needed supplies, mostly at different churches throughout the affected area.

If you are interested in helping with this effort, please contact me through my e-mail address: ontheedgeyouth@sbcglobal.net ,and I will contact you with options... more later...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tornadoes in Oklahoma!

video

No, this is NOT video of a tornado. If you look close, you should be able to make out the base of the storm. It put down a wall cloud for a few minutes, but that's all it could muster. This storm was tornadic in the OKC area earlier, and being the tail-end Charlie, I felt like it had potential. So, after conferring with George Flickinger, I drove southwest on I-44 as fast as I could. I did have that feeling in my gut that the north storm would be the one to be on but by that time, I was already committed and would have to punch the core of this monster after dark--not my favorite thing to do. So I followed this storm as it weakend and eventually died out west of Tulsa. I called it a night and got home about 11:00pm. with the head cold that I have, I decided that was it for me & hit the sack (with the scanner next to me) and I heard the tornado warning for Mayes county just to my east and thought.......nope, I won't do it. Turns out, Mayes county had a tornado about 2:30am on the leading edge of the squall line. Missed two in one day. I was glad that there were no fatalities in Oklahoma but as I type this, my heart is going out to our neighbors in Arkansas---6 confirmed fatalities so far today--and it's only 12:30pm!! Please pray for them as I pray for them and pray about another Mission of Compassion....

God bless.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tulsa under the gun....so to speak...

Well, everyone be on your toes. it's looking like Tulsa will see some severe weather tonight! The main questions regarding storms firing off the dryline is the moisture and the cap strength. With dewpoint at 60f at 10:30am, I don't see dews being a problem unless they mix out in the afternoon. Then we have to worry about the cap, but with a little mid-level cooling, maybe a couple of storms can fire. If they fire off the dryline which should be at about I-35 this afternoon, they have a decent chance of producing all modes of severe weather, including tornadoes. More than likely, storms will also develop southward along the cold front/dryline late tonight and keep us all awake. These storms also will have significant severe weather potential. Time will tell. Regardless, everyone keep an eye on the sky....and also stay tuned to 2News. Dan and the whole crew will be there and be keeping us all safe!
Jeff