Picture these comments when there was severe weather:
“Dude, had we been playing X-Box in that stupid tornado magnet of yours instead of buying candy bars from the gas station and freezing our butts off in cooler, we would have been dead meat!”
“Man, I thought school canceling classes this morning was cool because we could play video games all day long. Now, I wished that the school was open today. That twister bodied the school, but my trailer is completely gone. The ‘hood is a goner, too. The school tanked it with few walls and bathrooms left, but I swear this was an F-5! Even your regular old house did not survive!”
Have you noticed something about the dialogue above? Perhaps I was envisioning what if the school was closed that day for severe weather and a powerful tornado tore through the same neighborhood? Am I trying to show potential issues regarding schools letting students out early or even outright canceling classes?
I have seen that multiple times in the news, especially after 2013. However, it would be more dangerous than allowing schools to resume sessions. The most likely culprit that the parents would blame is the 2013 Moore tornado, according to KGOU article addressing severe weather-related school closures.
However, the Moore tornado, notoriously known for demolishing two elementary schools, was a rare case, according to National Weather Service. Only 2% of all known tornadoes since 1950 were rated F/EF-4 or F/EF-5, and the Moore twister was an EF-5.
The tornado caused 10 deaths, 7 of those were in Plaza Towers Elementary, and all people in Briarwood Elementary survived. As I would say again, all tornado deaths are tragic, and this would not change that.
Back in KGOU article, the National Weather Service meteorologist pointed out that the tornado would have higher deaths had the students been at home instead of schools based on damage assessments. That was an icing on the cake in the Moore case. Had the schools closed early or outright canceled classes, the EF-5 twister could have turned out to be a very different story and a potentially more tragic one.
The question is: Was this recent trend an overreaction to a rare, yet exceptionally powerful tornado that (sadly) happened to hit two elementary schools out of all places?
I am a trained spotter and weather enthusiast who spent years enjoying learning about weather. I provide my thoughts and commentaries, sometimes with light humor.