Yesterday afternoon, I sat down at my MacBook to write this week’s “300 Words” entry about the beginning of summer vacation, which began Friday at noon for my oldest son, Maxwell, and will begin Wednesday at noon for my youngest, Jackson — after a field trip yesterday to Lincoln State Park and the school’s Field Day today. I planned to write how thrilled I was to shelve the school morning chaos of searching for clean uniforms and socks until fall. (Even so, it’s really not that different in the summer — we’re searching for goggles and swim jammers.)
I can’t write that story. My thoughts are consumed with the children and adults in Moore, Okla., who were killed in yesterday’s deadly tornado outbreak — children who won’t play in Field Day or look forward to the summer months. For the community of Moore, life this summer, and forever, will be very different. Like Evansville, Moore, Okla., has experienced the pain before.
We remember the unusually warm Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005. Around 1:50 a.m., a tornado touched down two miles north-northwest of Smith Mills in Henderson County, Ky., near the Indiana/Kentucky border, and then crossed the Ohio River into Vanderburgh County, Ind. Staying just south of I-164, the tornado traveled to the northeast causing extensive damage to parts of Evansville, Newburgh, and Boonville. The tornado lifted in Spencer County, 1.5 miles southwest of Gentryville. According to the National Weather Service based in Paducah, Ky., the damage path was at least 400 yards wide and 41 miles long. The tornado’s maximum wind speed was estimated to be 200 mph, making it a high-end F3 on the Fujita scale. It claimed the lives of 25 people; 21 in the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park on Evansville’s Southeast Side, and four in Warrick County.