Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Sky Just Exploded

I intended to make this entry on the 20th, but it just wasn't meant to be. So here it is...

Record One Day Outbreak of Tornadoes in Wisconsin

August 18th, 2005

'The Sky Just Exploded'. Click here to visit the photo album and contribute

6:15 PM. Dane County, Wisconsin, 2 miles north of Oregon, approx. 5 miles south of the city of Madison

Tornadoes in Wisconsin are not common. Especially powerful tornadoes. Usually, Wisconsin experiences 21 tornadoes any given year, with the majority of tornadic activity occurring between April 1st and June 30th.

The Stoughton Tornado descended from a still small but extremely powerful thunderstorm over the far southern part of the city of Madison. Dane County had already had the sirens sound once about 30 minutes earlier for a tornado warning. A second wave of sirens began as the warning was extended. I was at work, about 12 miles due north of the unfolding disaster, sitting in a sweltering stairwell, completely unaware of what was about to happen. I would be there for another 60 minutes since our company would not allow anyone to leave the building.

The tornado began it's steady growth and march towards areas just north (and partially in) the city of Stoughton, a beautiful historic city sitting about 10 miles south-southeast of Madison. At it's height of power over the next 40 minutes, it reached an estimated width of 1/2 mile wide with winds at or exceeding 200 miles per hour. It would be rated an F-3 on the Fujita Scale, a way to measure intensity of tornado-produced damage. This strong of a tornado is extremely rare in Wisconsin. The last similar-strength tornado was nearly 10 years ago, and it was just shy of the strength of the F-5 tornado that leveled the city of Barneveld, WI on June 8, 1984.

The path of destruction was 17 miles in length (also very rare for a tornado in Wisconsin to be on the ground for that long)...through farmland, a Country Club, and a large subdivision (pictured below) that was "wiped clean."

Dane County, the Disaster Area

Dane County was declared to be in a State of Emergency after the tornado's devastation was becoming evident. The next day, it was declared a county and state disaster area, and the petition should be arriving at the President's desk soon to have Dane County be declared a Federal Disaster Area, unlocking funds and assistance from FEMA. Here are some of the "stats" and how you can help.

Record Tornado Outbreak

  • 28 tornadoes across the state of Wisconsin.

  • 17 tornadoes in the Milwaukee/Sullivan County Warning Area

  • 1 tornado, "The Sky Just Exploded" tornado, in my home county of Dane.

  • This tornado was the strongest and longest lived, causing the most damage

  • One Stoughton man was killed next to his wife in his basement as the home's chimney was crushed by the tornado and collapsed on him

  • At least 18 injuries (confirmed, upwards of 60 reported) in the Stoughton area

  • 18 homes completely destroyed.

  • 59 homes with damage severe enough to not allow families to return until repairs are made

  • Another 90 (maybe more) homes and structures damaged

  • "Thousands of trees" sheered off or uprooted

  • Extensive crop (mainly corn) damage

  • Debris found 60 miles away in the City of Milwaukee

I have decided to help the people of Stoughton and Dane County in any way I can. The tornado was so close to being directly over my apartment, that I initially felt guilt, then relief, then guilt (again) because I love storms. However, I've turned from that to an outpouring of love. Many families lost every possession, and need food, clothing (and school starts in just a couple of weeks!), and shelter. Wisconsin and the Red Cross have taken care of most of the housing. Hundreds of volunteers are assisting families in going through what belongings are left. So many volunteers (talk about a wonderful feeling!) that many had to be turned away. Tetanus shots are given to every volunteer because of the nature of the destruction.

They are in need of food and clothing. So, with what I can personally donate, and I am asking the community here at Powerful Intentions to open their hearts and minds to assisting me in getting needed items to these families. By visiting the Sky Just Exploded Photo Album you can make a donation through PayPal. With this donation going into my PayPal account, I can put it to use immediately (I have a PayPal debit card) by purchasing gift cards for Wal-Mart, other department stores, and Stoughton area grocery stores to donate to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and St. Vincent De Paul who will distribute them to the families most in need. All 100% of my PayPal account is now dedicated to this relief effort. All other sales/business items I used that account for have ceased until this is completed.

I ask to you to contribute your love, light, and financial energy. My intention is to raise "as much as possible" (well over $1,000) to be able to donate on behalf of the Powerful Intentions Community through $100 gift cards to department stores and food stores. Much more is needed. Many people will not have homes again for months.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for your time. And thank you for being a vibrational match to my desire.

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