Friday, May 24, 2013

Oklahoma Tornados - May 24, 2013

Day 5:

Five days in and most of the areas are now accessible. Which is great! This now allows for people to get in there with large equipment to remove the larger objects/debris. I didn't stay around Moore today. Instead I went east to Shawnee to scope out the sights there.

I gathered a few addresses that were mentioned throughout the week and plugged them into the GPS. Going along highway nine, everything seemed tranquil and relaxed; it was a typical summer day. Not entirely sure where I was going I listened to the GPS all the way until I hit a road block patrolled by police. Trying to listen to my inner body compass, I weaved through all the back roads until I smelled something cooking. My first reaction thought it was probably someone grilling at the volunteer sight, just like they were doing in Moore and Newcastle. So I followed the smell. Man, was I wrong.

As I got deeper into Shawnee the roads became dirt and I started to see debris lying around and caught in the trees. The smoke no longer smelled like a bar-b-Que but more of a campfire. I then saw smoke rising and headed straight to it which seems like a silly thing to do. But I wasn't sure if someone was there and needed help, so I went. When I turned the corner one last time I came up on a trailer park, excuse me, I mean the remains of the trailer park. Everyone's vehicles, both volunteer and residents, were parked along side the dirt road. One could definitely tell which automobiles went through the storm from those that did not. Some were still wedged under debris. At that point I had to park and walk the rest of the way in. What I saw next was breath taking or, actually, suffocating.

The smoke I smelled coming in was from the burning remains scattered through out. I'm still unsure if they were intentional or not. There were not any live flames and seemed to be under control. But the smoke was still lingering and the humidity was increasing. Dust was flying from the chainsaws cutting up fallen trees as well as from people rummaging through the rubble. I had to pull my shirt over my mouth and nose, but my eyes were still burning. I did not last long before I had to turn around and head back to my truck, but not without a few shots of the damage..

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