Students share stories of tornado scares

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    By Edmund Smith

    As crews continue cleaning up the destruction left in the wake of tornados in the Midwest, Utah residents think about their own safety.

    With the recent tornados touching down across the nation, many residents worry about the safety of those harmed and think back to the tornado that tore through Salt Lake City in August of 1999.

    While tornados may seem foreign to some students, to one BYU student, it is a part of life.

    “Tornados are typical in Missouri,” said Danny McDavitt a junior from Liberty Missouri, majoring in music.

    McDavitt rushed to the phone to call home after a tornado struck his hometown early last week.

    He was relieved to find his family was okay, but the twister left hours of cleanup for the community.

    McDavitt has grown-up with tornados and is use to the thought of one touching down, but still worries about the destruction they leave.

    “The proper preparations are taken” McDavitt said. “We have weather alert systems, and we take food in the basement in the event of a tornado.”

    Short of those few precautions, it seems that life functions as normal in Missouri.

    For the residents of Missouri, tornados are something real and taken seriously, but life still must go on.

    “I can remember having to go down into the basement three to four times a month for tornado warnings,” said Mcdavitt.

    The dangers associated with a tornado are great, but McDavitt said he feels safer at home than he would in California.

    “I would feel more nervous going to California with the faults and possible earthquakes than to be in my home town of Missouri with possible tornados,” Mcdavitt said.

    Just as Mcdavitt might have reservations living in California, local Utah residents have reservations of tornados.

    Leann Betts remembers her roommate was in downtown Salt Lake when the twister hit Salt Lake, blowing out the back window on her car.

    “She was pretty traumatized after that,” Betts said.

    Despite the close encounter her roommate had with the tornado, Betts is not too concerned about tornados and their danger.

    “I never think of them as being so deadly,” Betts said. “Tornados just seem so far away from Utah.”

    The devastating tornado of 1999 killed one person and hospitalized more than 80 others.

    Betts was working the day of the tornado and a colleague from Oklahoma said, “Those clouds look like the ones we get in Oklahoma before a tornado hits.”

    Betts was shocked to return home to find out that a tornado really had hit Salt Lake.

    The twister also tore a portion of the roof off the Delta Center and windows were shattered at the Wyndham Hotel. Bed linens and other items were sucked out.

    Though the tornado goes unforgotten, it does not seem to be something students are scared of or think will re-occur.

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