Tornadoes tear through Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas

EF-3 tornado damage in Idabel, Oklahoma at the Trinity Baptist Church, November 2022. (Source: National Weather Service Shreveport via Twitter).

I live in the Houston area, where I regularly experience hurricanes, tropical storms and the occasional deep freeze. But I cut my disaster teeth in my native Oklahoma following spring and fall supercells that can become devastating wind events.

I remember watching a tornado fly over my childhood home in Tulsa when I was just 8 years old, and I’ve lived in awe and in fear ever since. I’ll never forget the sounds of the wind and the radio telling us about the damage nearby.

On Friday, Nov. 4, I channeled my inner 8-year-old and felt my typical weather anxiety as I tuned in to follow the path of tornado-warned storms making their way across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The familiar names of towns I’d grown up hearing blared from the television as their citizens were warned to take “tornado precautions.” My heart ached when I saw the devastation play out on live television in communities in Texas that I’ve come to know.

Communities like Powderly, Hughes Springs and New Boston in Texas and Idabel in Oklahoma spent their weekend cleaning up and commiserating with one another as they took stock of the damage and determined what’s next. At least two people lost their lives, and many others were injured. Hundreds of homes, businesses, schools and health care clinics are damaged.

Some of the destroyed homes are manufactured homes located in rural areas in places where there may not be strong government infrastructure to help them. (Note: CDP’s recent webinar Mobile Homes and Disaster: Understanding Risks and Opportunities addresses the intricacies of recovery for those living in manufactured housing.)

And, as with most disasters that strike in mostly rural areas or small towns, the attention focused on the devastation here has already moved on to the next disaster or news event. Who’s going to help? How will they survive? How will these vibrant agricultural communities help one another rebuild? How can we help them?

How can you help?

My colleague, Cari Cullen, who oversees grantmaking for the CDP Midwest Early Recovery Fund (ERF), and I are already in touch with our government, community, grantee and funder partners in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. We’ll work closely together to leverage the funding she oversees with funding I oversee through the CDP Disaster Recovery Fund.

We know how to support mid-to-long-term recovery in communities that often don’t have access to other resources. They need us, and we need you to ensure we can be there.

Please consider a donation to one of these funds to help support our partners here, as we know they will have very few resources. And for more details on the effects of the storm, visit CDP’s disaster profile here.

Sally Ray

Sally Ray

Director, Domestic Funds