Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
A powerful, deadly, tornado-producing storm system descended on the Midwest this week. Many of our readers have been through a storm or two, and they felt compelled to share stories and advice. Angela Davis shared the photo above showing a damaged flag in Harrisburg, Illinois.
If you've captured photos or video of the storms, you can share your story on CNN iReport, but please remember to stay safe. Or, share your experiences in the comments area below. Here's what some readers are telling us.
This commenter talked about helping storm victims and suggested making donations; there are other ways you can help as well.
Shay: "Our prayers go up for those in the path of this latest storm. Our pastors from Joplin arrived in Harrisburg this morning with a truckload of relief kits put together last night by our youth to give to residents of this devastated area. We know the pain and grief and fright you are going through. I lost a student in the May 22 tornado, one of the 161. We are former Joplin residents now living outside the city limits. My daughter works in the remaining hospital here. We live with the ruin in our town. With storm warnings the other night, residents of Joplin were reliving the terror. God bless Harrisburg, Branson, Pittsburg, Cassville; and God bless Joplin. Donate to Convoy of Hope. The Red Cross is good but more of your money donated to COH goes to relief. In fact, they say $1 donated = $7 from gifts in kind. They were on the road to Joplin within one hour May 22. http://www.convoyofhope.org/"
Some shared their own previous experiences.
EvolveNow: "I've lived through not one, but two tornadic events. The first tore the side of the apartment building I lived in off (thankfully just after we had moved and it stood empty) and the second nearly wiped the next town off the map. Winds of over 150 mph rammed straw, solid-core wire and two-by-fours through seemingly solid objects, lifted whole buildings 10-plus feet into the air before crashing them and their occupants to the ground, and barrel-rolled cars down the road as if they were just toys. In both cases, several people died. The culprit was not God, or the winds, but flying debris and the sudden stop it makes when impacting a soft human body. A longer warning time would have allowed the people who died to get to their basements and get under or inside a small cement or steel structure already built there."
Other people talked about their ideas for improving storm safety.
One reader had several suggestions, including gathering information from websites, stocking up on supplies, getting a whistle and expanding shelter facilities to include more places with reinforced rooms. He also wondered about encouraging stronger buildings.
daveindesmoi: "Can new tax incentives be created for mobile home parks and multistory apartments to build reinforced buildings to be used for severe storms? At other times of the year, these buildings could be used as community centers. People will get their tornado warnings through their cell phones (and land line phones) before power goes out, even if it is during the night. These phones will ring to wake people up. Those who live in upper story apartments and in mobile homes will simply congregate to these newly built reinforced 'tornado' centers. We could create many new 'made in America' jobs, manufacturing the parts of these new reinforced 'community centers.' The walls and the roofing would be assembled on site of these mobile home parks and multistory apartments. If allowed, these new buildings could be built somewhat underground."
But a storm could huff and puff and blow that house down. This reader suggested changes to building codes.
bella11: "The reason for the tragedy is human greed! Do you remember the story about three pigs who build the houses, first one builds from the straw, second one from the sticks, only the third one builds from bricks! This is the answer to America: change building codes. Make builders responsible for building strong houses, from bricks and mortar! And I don't mean the brick siding, but the inside walls. Everything should be from bricks, as (houses are) built in Europe. No more wooden frame covered with vinyl. European houses stand for hundreds, even thousands of years because they are well built. They would withstand a tornado! Roof could be damaged but the house would stand. Houses in America are built from sticks, wood chips and glue. Builders ... are allowed to build cheap and sell expensive."
Can a tornado be avoided, and is it worthwhile to be prepared?
teoftx: "It is about the expense and the fact that the vast majority of people who have grown up in tornado alley have never even seen a tornado. Just might recheck the housing market right now and how many new homes are being built. I have had a house lost due to fire and it was too expensive to rebuild and affordable to buy existing. And no structure unless it is far underground can ever be tornado-proof. Tornado-resistant maybe but no structure will withstand storms that can pull pavement up off the road. There just are not that many people who even get hit more than once."
Some debated if it is a good idea to live in an area at risk for storms. But others said some kind of weather is hard to avoid.
teoftx: "If nobody lived in an area in the USA that was not high risk from something, the country would be empty. More tax money is spent on snow removal than tax incentives or cleanup from tornadoes."
mrsinister69: "I don't want my taxes to pay for someone else's choice to live in a high-risk area."
Another commenter had a few ideas for equipment and planning that could help.
teoftx: "Everyone should have a weather alert radio. People do not think twice about having smoke detectors but do not have a 'weather detector.' They save lives and will wake you up in the event a watch or warning is issued. Look for SAME which is county specific if you do not want alerts for the entire broadcast area. Some have selectable alerts, some do not. They all have batter backup in the event of a power failure. Have a plan for severe weather especially if you live in a mobile home or apartment and a meeting place in the event of something like this for your family. It is recommended to wear a helmet during a storm to protect from debris. Tornado season has officially started and there is an even stronger system predicted for this weekend."
Now, what do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.