The North Texas Christmas Tornadoes

I’ve had to reassure my fiancée that spending Christmas with me is not this adventurous.

We spent roughly 2 hours inside of Wal-Mart in Garland, TX on Saturday evening, 12/26/2015. Not because we’re big fans of the place, but because we had 2 tornado warnings issued. If you’ve ever wondered what Wal-Mart’s severe weather protocol is, it’s this: make an announcement informing customers that they should head to the back of the store. For us, that was layaway, near the shoes. I suppose it could also be the auto center with some store layouts, but either way, it’s a central location away from windows, which is what you want.

We soon found out that others weren’t so fortunate. Our hearts were broken when we saw the news detailing the destruction around us. We were only 15 minutes away from one of the hardest hit areas.

Most gut-wrenching of all? Watching first response vehicles from communities around North Texas headed east on President George Bush Turnpike, their lights flashing.

As of Sunday afternoon, the death toll stands at 11, and many more have lost their homes. The National Weather Service has classified the tornado that touched down in Garland as an EF-4, only the second one since 1927 1950 to hit Dallas County, and another in Rowlett as an EF-3. For those not familiar with tornadoes, “EF” stands for Enhanced Fujita scale and it goes to 5.

I’m keeping an eye out for ways folks can help and I’ll keep updating this blog post with links I find. If you have any, let me know in the comments section or on Facebook and I’ll add them.

Links

The best place to start would be this page on the Dallas Morning News’ website.

Many pets got out last night. If your faithful companion is missing, you can peruse the pictures on these Facebook pages or contact them directly.

Finally, Refuge on Call will be heading out to the Garland/Rowlett area to cook for first responders. You can make a donation to them here

Update, 12/27, 6:23PM:

I’ve updated the initial blog post with information that this is the second EF-4 tornado to hit Dallas County since 1950.

It’s an old link, but this tweet may be useful:

Also this:

Update, 12/28, 9:04 AM:

The Dallas Morning has an article today that provides tips on how to not get ripped off by roofers or contractors.

Update, 12/28, 5:12 PM:

Beware of fake GoFundMe and Kickstarter campaigns set up to help families affected by the tornados.

Update, 12/28, 9:00 PM:

Feeling hungry? These restaurants are donating 100% of their proceeds to tornado relief.