By the numbers…


This particular funnel cloud ravaged parts of Conway County four days ago and killed two people. When the worst was over, Arkansas counted between 11 and 13 tornadoes on May 2nd that took a total of seven lives.

A lot of numbers. There is YouTube footage of several tornadoes taken by some storm chasers from out of state. I’m not including a link here because the running commentary on the video proves a startling disconnect between viewing storm-as-art and the reality of people – children – dying as a consequence of the storm. It’s in extremely poor taste.

I can’t stop thinking of Ed Buckner, KTHV meteorologist. After the storms moved east and all those numbers started rising, he looked like a man who’d been hit by one of the uprooted trees. Clearly, Ed hoped he could transmit safety and people died anyway. I imagine it’s a terrible thing to predict acts of God for a living, and even worse when the predictions are accurate, the warnings go out, and things still turn out badly. There are limits.

There aren’t any hard numbers for how many people were saved, and that’s a shame. There are near-miss stories everywhere, though, and some of them are too difficult for me to think about.

Let’s hope this is the end of the worst of it, at least for this year. I’m not sure our hearts can take any more just now.