I overheard Sheriff David Beth on WLIP this morning pleading with people -- "curiosity seekers" -- to please stay away from the areas hit by yesterday's tornadoes.
It's a perfectly legitimate request. Emergency, utility and construction crews need to be able to get their jobs done without interference and also without harm to those who might come just to gawk.
That said, there's an irony to the sheriff's plea. Maybe people should go these areas to see for themselves just what havoc a tornado can actually do. It's one thing to look at an image but another to see it for yourself.
Why would I say this?
Simple. A lot of people just can't comprehend the fury of such an event because it's simply too mind boggling. I learned that lesson over 30 years ago when I saw my first "real flood" in Toledo, Ohio. Up until then I thought of flooding as water on the road and in some basements with no real appreciation for the destruction a flood can cause.
No, I am not encouraging curiosity seekers to interfere with emergency work that needs to be done. Nonetheless, we have a lot of folks who don't take severe weather warnings seriously. Maybe if they have a chance to see the destruction -- perhaps even one building -- they'd understand.