• Andrew Pritchard

Parsons Manufacturing Plant as a Model for Severe Weather Preparedness

This is the Parsons Manufacturing Plant in Roanoke, Illinois before and after it was struck by an F4 tornado on July 13th, 2004.


120-140 workers were inside when it took a direct hit. Steel beams from the plant were found 3/4 mile away.

How many workers were injured/killed?

ZERO.

Storm shelters and safety plans save lives. I am devastated to hear of the mass casualty events at the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, IL and candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky. On a highly advertised severe weather day when tornado warnings were issued in advance, this was a preventable tragedy and I won't hear it any other way.

Inspired by a tornado in 1974, the Parsons plant owner himself installed multiple steel/concrete reinforced shelters for employees. They had a severe weather safety plan that they practiced routinely. They had designated employees on site monitoring the weather. It was simple. Plan. Practice. Monitor. Act. No lives lost.

"Releasing employees into the storm would not have been safe either"

Look, I'm advocating for exactly the opposite.

Amazon/candle factory workers lives should have been SAVED at their workplace, not LOST. You accomplish that with readily accessible shelters and a well rehearsed plan.

This would be unacceptable at Nutrien and it should be unacceptable for any corporation that knowingly has vulnerable employees working for them in obviously unsafe structures that won't hold up in weather events not uncommon in their geographic area.

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SKYDRAMA | Meteorologist & Atmospheric Photographer Andrew Pritchard

I'm a meteorologist born and raised in the American Midwest passionate about forecasting and observing severe storms.

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