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Hoosiers know what tornadoes are all about

We can sympathize with our friends in Oklahoma

Saturday, May 25, 2013 - 12:01 am

Hoosiers are no strangers to the danger and devastation of tornadoes.

We’ve had some bad ones throughout the state over the years, most recently a little more than a year ago when tornadoes ripped across southern Indiana, killing 14 people and damaging or destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.

Palm Sunday 1965 was the deadliest tornado outbreak in Indiana history.

Thirty-seven tornadoes over six states killed 258 people, and 3,000 were injured. In Indiana, 137 were killed (84 in Elkhart County) and 1,800 were injured.

Many can sympathize with the people of Oklahoma, where a half-mile-wide tornado bulldozed 17 miles on Monday, turning houses into matchsticks and sending parents and teachers running to pull children from the wreckage of an elementary school in the eye of the storm.

The tornado, which killed 24 people, was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 that was on the ground for 40 minutes, according to the National Weather Service. It packed winds of up to 210 mph.

Monday’s powerful storm loosely followed the path of a killer twister that slammed the region in May 1999. That storm had winds clocked at 300 mph.

It was the fourth tornado to hit Moore since 1998. A twister also struck in 2003.

The devastation in Oklahoma came almost two years after an enormous twister ripped through the city of Joplin, Mo., killing 158 people and injuring hundreds more.

That May 22, 2011, tornado was the deadliest in the United States since modern tornado record keeping began in 1950, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Before Joplin, the deadliest modern tornado struck on June 1953 in Flint, Mich., when 116 people died.