Oklahoma City Tornado

First I want to say my condolences and prayers go out for the families who lost loved ones in the wake of the Oklahoma City tornado disaster. This is heart wrenching. I am truly sorry for everyone who is suffering from this natural disaster.

Now this was not a typical tornado. The magnitude of this twister is currently listed as EF5 meaning the winds are believed to be 160 to 210 miles per hour and the diameter is approximately 2 miles wide at its widest point. It was simply large and powerful. I have spent quite a bit of time looking at pictures of the destruction and I can not imagine being a witness to this. One thing I have noticed was how the professionals recognized the magnitude of this particular event and how their warnings took a more dire tone. As pointed out near the end of this video the weather reporter was telling people to get away as fast as they could. Not to shelter in place in the interior rooms of buildings but rather to go underground into storm shelters or to simply flee.

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I wont try to pretend that I understand all the dynamics of all tornadoes and how we should react to them but I have to wonder why did so many people lose their lives? The first warnings went out 16 minutes before the first reports of the tornado actually touching down. The tornado ravaged a strip of Oklahoma for 40 minutes and traveled 20 miles so even though the wind was an ungodly 200 miles per hour the tornado moved along at 30 miles an hour. I am left wondering why. Why, with all of our best weather reporting data, why with our NOAA radio system in place, why with so many instant notification media avenues available did some (I repeat, some)  people do nothing until the last moment or not at all? Lives were lost as a direct result of inaction. It is an ugly thing to think about but the result of failure to do something is even uglier.

I want to be clear about something. I am not judging others. I am observing them and trying to learn. We have got to restore the mentality of prevention and preparation. We need to foster the desire to take action and do something. People died because a tornado in tornado alley during tornado season waltzed toward them at the speed of a car in normal traffic and they failed to get out of the way FOR 40 MINUTES!

This is one reason why we are bringing back Steven Harris in coming issues of Breaking Urban Ground Magazine. Steven is perhaps the nations leading source for emergency preparedness information. Not zombie stuff or UFO stuff but rather real world, tornado, power failure, hurricane, earthquake preparedness. I was planning an interview with him about very simple emergency foods to make when power goes out and we will still do that in a future issue. But I because I intend to introduce those who are learning to the experts around us who are teaching I want to address the complacency that is too often exhibited and the agony it fosters at times like this. These are times when we should be leading our neighbors to safety instead of sharing in their misery. Moving friends away from danger instead of watching it bring them to an untimely end.

It is said that the best thing you can do in an emergency is “the right thing”. The second best thing you can do is the “wrong thing”. And the worst thing you can do is NOTHING.

Watch, learn, prepare, teach.


Breaking Urban Ground



Breaking Urban Ground

is thrilled to announce our first issue of

Breaking Urban Ground magazine.

It is currently available on iPads everywhere in the Newsstand app. We have interviews from Paul Gautschi on his amazing Back to Eden garden. Larry Hall talks to us about the Rain Gutter Automatic Watering System he created. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds comes to you via the voice of Jere Gettle. A personality local to me, Gretchen Anderson answers some of our questions about starting backyard chickens. If chickens are not for you maybe our discussion with Vice President of Mann Lake Ltd may interest you. Jack Thomas gives us great advice on the topic of becoming a bee keeper. If you want to know anything about real world emergency preparedness then you will want to catch Steven Harris‘ interview. He tells us what every home can do to take a first (and easy) step toward counting on yourself in a power outage or if you lose a regular water supply. We even have a special article contributed to us from Pepper Miller. Her 3 part blog article “The Chicken Plan” is an example for you to see how one person put her wish to keep chickens into practice.

We are thrilled about the launch of the magazine but we are always looking forward to new issues. We are building June’s magazine right now and would love your participation. It can be as simple as a picture. You can send us pictures of your Breaking Urban Ground Projects. They can fall into these major categories.


Show us your chickens, bees, rabbits, worms(worm compost projects) goats and others.

Alternate power:

Battery storage, home wind generator, solar projects, rain storage. Any utility you provide for yourself.

Food Production:

Canning successes, canning failures, dehydrated foods, cheese making, syrup, yogurt. What food did you make?


Your urban garden, community gardens you participate in, Veggies you grew or are growing, unusual crops, your first plant. If it is growing for food we want to see pictures.

Household Stuff:

Planter projects, a trellis you made, detergent, candles, beeswax lip balm, a bat house. This is the “construction zone”.


This is more of an action than a “thing” so let’s see first aid kits, group pictures of your CPR certification class, your 72 hour kit. Send photos related to “being” ready for lives turbulent situations.


How do you maximize your space. Lets see creative ways to manage what you have. Shelves you built, basement root cellars, serious spice cabinets.

Don’t forget to tell us about the picture. A picture of canned carrots is nice but information on who made them and a little background is better.

With all of this be sure to include the kids. Breaking Urban Ground includes all people learning to provide for themselves as they have interest. The entire family can be included. My kids don’t like gardening but love to make cheese. If your kids like doing something send pictures of their projects too.

We are all about learning. Learning includes mess-ups and failures. Send pictures of these and some info on what you learned from the experience and what you will do differently next time.

Sending your photos to Ideas@BreakingUrbanGround.com constitutes permission to use or not use the photos in future issue and articles and on the Breaking Urban Ground website and social media affiliations. Don’t send us pictures if they are not your own or you do not have authorization to distribute them.

Our first issue was so much fun to make. Lets make the next one better.

Joe Gore

“Pre” is the part of “Prepare” that makes it effective.

Spring is coming. The greys of winter will depart and the greens of spring will appear and with that some turbulent weather is sure to make an appearance. For some it can be tornadoes. For others hail and freezing or heavy rain. High wind is possible. Power outages are a given in many areas and possible in all areas. This is a good time to make sure you have the necessary gear and mindset to make these issues safer, more manageable and hopefully, barring structure damage, nothing more than an inconvenience.

I know some people don’t prepare at all (you know who you are). Perhaps because it appears to be overwhelming. So I found some information that is neat and clean and categorizes preparations into specific issues you might face.

Click here to visit Top Emergency Preparedness. Take one step to prepare for spring weather. Then take one more.

Taken with my phone. This funnel cloud did damage in East Boise.

Spring tornado in Southern Idaho. Supposedly tornadoes here are impossible. Whatever!