That's Life - July 15, 2020

It’s hard to believe that, as I write this column, the Pine Lake tornado is 20 years old.

On July 14, 2000, I stood with a group of Kneehill Ambulance personnel at the old Three Hills Rodeo grounds. The evening rodeo performance was soon to begin.

We noticed a massive anvil cloud that seemed to hover in the sky to the north. It was just after 7 pm when radio dispatch called all available ambulances and personnel to the Green Acres Campground Resort at Pine Lake. The rest is history, never to be forgotten.

The Pine Lake tornado claimed a dozen lives and injured over 100 more. It became the deadliest tornado in the year 2000, in all of North America.

I had the opportunity to fly over the tragic scene the following morning. I’ve been in the community newspaper business since 1976 and I have never seen anything that would come close to the devastation I saw that day.

Capital reporter, Debi Moon, responded to the dispatch in Linden. She jumped in with first responders and arrived at the scene to discover total mayhem and destruction. After capturing the devastation on camera she joined the first responders and cared for the injured.

Many local families called Green Acres their summer home away from home. Many of their summer homes were taken that day. If that’s all they lost, they consider themselves lucky.

Today we have our smart phones. We are alerted when severe weather is approaching. Many, or even most of us , have heard the “tornado watch for your area” warnings, far too often.

Never take the weather for granted. It has no mercy. Be aware. Take cover when necessary. Be a survivor. It will happen again. We just don’t know where or when.

That’s Life.