May Tornadoes

National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center graphic showing storm locations for 5/20/2013

It seems as though we just catch our collective breath from one disaster event when another happens. This week is no exception. Oklahoma is home to NOAA Storm Prediction Center, where experts issued a tornado warning 16 minutes before a tornado (estimated to be EF-4) touched down and moved through Newcastle, Moore and South Oklahoma City. Two elementary schools and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Many people were injured and several lost their lives. The numbers are still being confirmed. It was a tragic day.

This was the most destructive event of the day,  but it was not the only severe weather to hit the country. There were 403 preliminary storm reports, including 22 tornado reports, 257 wind reports and 124 hail reports. Today’s forecast is similar to that of yesterday. Other than keep an eye on the forecast and current weather conditions, what can you do to prepare for severe weather? Learn about tornado basics, tornado safety and other related topics on the Storm Prediction Center’s  Tornado FAQ.

Everyone wants to help and help is always appreciated, but the most appreciated and most helpful thing we can do at this time is to let the responders do their work. While it seems appropriate to drop what you’re doing and head to Moore to help assess damage, move debris and comfort the affected, if you’re not part of an approved organized effort, you are in the way. Do NOT head to Moore unless you’ve been officially requested to go there.

You can still help. Make a donation at the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) site or to the voluntary organization of your choice. You can also register on their sites to volunteer.

EDEN and Extension have excellent resources that will help in the short- and long-term recovery efforts. Here are a few specific resources covering a variety of issues from Extension and our partners:




National Disaster Recovery Framework Webinar — February 1, 2013

The National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF)  and Drought Response Across Agencies and Organizations Webinar

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 1 PM Eastern


The  National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) offer a chance to take a closer look at how the National Disaster Recovery Framework was used to respond to the drought of 2012 and how it continues to be applied in 2013. This Webinar was requested by members of the  National VOAD  Drought Task Force and the EDEN Drought National Extension Issues Leadership Team. The Webinar is open to anyone, but may be of special interest to VOAD and EDEN members, and federal, state and local agencies involved in drought response.

  • Introductions:  Steve Cain
  • Colleen Callahan: USDA’s perspective on NDRF and drought
  • Ryan Velasco, FEMA’s perspective on NDRF and drought **
  • Arlan Juhl,  State of Illinois’s Drought Task Force and cross agency cooperation,


About the speakers:

  • Colleen Callahan is the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator at USDA
  • Ryan Velasco is Emergency Management Specialist, FEMA
  • Arlan Juhl is Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Steve Cain is the EDEN Homeland Security Project Director and National VOAD drought Task Force Chair.

** Because Ryan is subject to Hurricane Sandy deployment, there may be a substitution.


The link for the webinar is —

Kim, Chair Drought NEIL

How to Set-Up a Long-Term Drought Recovery Group – Webinar has been archived (EDEN Drought page) and the presentations are downloadable

The intended audience for this webinar is anyone interested in the process of setting up a long-term, drought recovery group whether they are from a community affected by drought or from an organization wanting to assist a community in setting up an organized, long-term drought recovery group. The audience is for those providing assistance rather than those requesting assistance. The audience will learn about resources from National VOAD and EDEN and hear points from Lutheran Disaster Response on how they have used long-term recovery groups to help in past droughts. This webinar was jointly hosted by National VOAD and EDEN (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the Extension Disaster Education Network).

Opening and introduction – Bill Hoffman, USDA National Program Leader

  • Updates on VOAD Drought Task Force and EDEN Drought NEIL – Steve Cain, Indiana VOAD President and EDEN delegate
  • Resources update – Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, Texas VOAD President and member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul- South Central Region
  • Experiences in drought long-term recovery — Joan Buchhop, Lutheran Disaster Response, North Dakota
  • Wrap up and questions – All on the above panel

Questions: Please contact Steve Cain or Abby Hostetler

Requests made before and after the webinar for additional webinars:


  • Conflicts between municipal and ag water use during drought.
  • Need funding resources for mental health response
  • Updates on new resources being shared.
  •  Explain how the National Disaster Recovery Framework is being used for drought. (This webinar is in the planning process)


Please share your suggestions for additional webinars according to the drought related needs and issues in your area.