Disasters bring out the best in Americans. They dig in their pockets to help. It also brings out the worst in people wanting to make a quick buck.
Frequent and intense tornado outbreaks resulted in 552 tornado-related deaths in 2011, the second deadliest year on record, from 1,709 tornadoes, raising fears that this will be another devastating year for tornadoes.
I didn't think I'd ever heard of Harrisburg, IL. When a tornado hit that small town and killed 6 people earlier this week, the name of the town 300 miles away didn't sound familiar. Odd, considering the few minutes I spent there were quite memorable.
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2011 was a year of extremes. Extremes like Tim Tebow's winning streak and Kim Kardashian's shortest-ever marriage, but also extremes of the weather variety.
During natural disasters, society regularly turns to the state for help, which means such immediate crises are a much-needed reminder of just how important a functional big government turns out to be to our survival.
From a weather perspective, 2011 will be remembered as a year of extremes. This includes a record-breaking 12 billion-dollar-plus weather disaster.
Tornadoes killed 552 people in the U.S., the second deadliest season on record, and six of the outbreaks caused at least a billion dollars in damage.
The Christmas dance was another sign of the resilience that East Middle School students have shown after this year's hurricane.
In a time when huge disasters seem to come at us with alarming frequency, Greensburg is showing us how to rebuild and recover. And the message they send is that green goes with their rural values. It is just common sense.
The snow storm was the 14th billion dollar plus weather disaster of the year in the U.S. alone, adding to what's already been a record-breaking year for the number of billion dollar weather disasters.
During a recent teacher in-service day, staff members from Joplin East Middle School returned to the building that we called our own for the last two years for a farewell ceremony.
In a pop-culture world that can turn anyone from a pawn shop owner to a professional beach vacationer to a rich (and petty) housewife into a television star, it's not surprising that tornado-seeking meteorologists would want to get in on the action.
A person who passes by Joplin High School will see an eerie, abandoned structure that was once Joplin High. To the citizens of Joplin, this scene is still an everyday reminder of the disaster that struck on May 22.
During the four hours we were at Hastings Books in Joplin Saturday, we heard terrifying stories, some sad, some uplifting of the May 22 event that forever reshaped the lives of Joplin residents.
If Secretary of Education Arne Duncan steps into my 8th grade classroom when he visits tornado-stricken Joplin, he will have an opportunity to see a man-made disaster that he made possible.