Those of us in Tornado Alley can be prepared for activity like what we got across the Kansas Flint Hills on Sunday — basically a host of EF-0 or EF-1 tornadoes that didn’t cause a ton of widespread damage.

I don’t care if you are a Tornado Alley veteran or not. Nothing can prepare you for what hit Moore, Okla., shortly after 3 p.m. May 20.

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Block upon block of what once was, now blasted into kindling.  Two schools and a hospital ripped apart. Thousands of lives shredded. Dozens of dead. Dozens.

This isn’t supposed to happen in 2013.

It wasn’t supposed to happen in 1999, either, when Moore was hit by arguably the strongest tornado to date in American history. Winds were estimated at 318 mph, one mph shy of being the only F-6 ever.

Forty-four died in 1999. And then Moore was hit in 2003. And again Monday.

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How shellshocked must you be now if you live in Moore? If you live in the Plains, especially Oklahoma and Texas, you know what you’re in for when winter turns to spring. But Monday’s storm and EF-4s and EF-5s are on such a different level, such a different plane, that it’s hard to wrap your mind around such total devastation even from afar. It must be unimaginable to deal with when it’s your home, your school, your workplace, your favorite restaurants.

Phrases like “our hearts go out to the victims” and “say a prayer for the victims” may not do much if anything to comfort those whose lives have been wrenched apart in 200 mph winds, but they are true.

Our hearts do go out to those of you in Moore, Okla. And we are praying like mad you never have to go through this again.

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