Overheard on CNN.com: Have you ever been through a big storm?
A powerful storm system has hit the Midwest. iReporter Angela Davis submitted this poignant photo from Harrisburg, Illinois.
March 1st, 2012
07:24 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Have you ever been through a big storm?

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.

Storm survivors recount horror

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.

Residents survey tornado damage; new storms forming

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.

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Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com • Tornadoes • Weather
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "On The Lunatic Fringe"

    Have you ever been through a big storm?
    No.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "On The Lunatic Fringe"

    Really? I'm lying. I recall a bad snow storm on my birthday. 1975. I was going to engineering school which normally took me about 1/2hr. to get home. But that day it took me 8 hrs. to drive home. The storm shut the city of 800,000 down for 4 days.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hamsta

    i was stuck in new orleans for katrina.the anarchy afterwards was worse than the storm or the flood afterwards.funny thing was that the police and government were the real criminals.you wouldnt believe the things i saw.what made it to the news was just the tip of the iceburg.

    March 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick©

      @hamsta, you, you, you, one always seems to see that you want the spotlight. What did YOU do to help after the devastation of Kattina?

      March 2, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Seeing as you have stated on more than one occasion that you are an anarchist, you must have been in your element.

      March 2, 2012 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    If you consider Hurricanes Frederick, Elena, Georges and especially Katrina to be bad storms, then I would definitely have to say yes.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Patrick©

    Elena and Katrina are on my list.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • FlaPete

      Hey does all the hurricanes since 1959 till present including Andrew count,that Andrew was a monster,Nothing compares in wind velocity to this day,known fact....

      March 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy

      my little istser shiela dawn john link live right in merrill.just talked to my other istser deb in irma.it hit 5-10 miles north also.she and hubby ray were without power for hours.there on h just 5 miles south of the 1 horse town of irma. there using a generator for power.we are still waiting for more asessment on casualties/injuries.god bless every one in merrill and stey strong there .

      March 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    @ hamsta

    You really seem like you got froze in time. Yes, bad crap happened after the storm. We all understand that. But do you think you were the only person affected by this ? Believe me, a lot of us who went through that would like to delegate those memories to the" I'm over it file." Obviously you are not one of that gtoup.

    March 1, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CenTexan©

    Does Desert Storm count? That's the only storm I've been in. Seriously though...my heart goes out to these folks.

    March 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Terry s.e. MO.

    Knowledge and preperation is a key but with the tornado sirens But who hears them outside city limits. My idea is with todays techs why can they not converge a warning signal to sound off inside of a smoke detector. It could be done. Just as a weather radio warns by sending signals why not send a signal to a combo smoke/tornado/severe weather signal. The weather patterns have changed so much people are assuming nothing will happen. I personally have been through several experiences and a smoke alarm will get your attention very quickly. Get going techees I am waiting up right now because bad weather will be hitting here tonight in s.e. mo. Sitting in my mobile home, disabled but ready to go. Thank God for Red Cross and others that donate or help. You have not been scared until you go through a tornado. They are fast and you truly fear for your life. You WILL NEVER FORGET!

    March 2, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. hamsta

    @patrick what did i do?helped rebuild dozens of houses.and for your info im an introvert i dont like being in the spotlight.but yes i am able to deal with anarchy.i work the barter system very well.i even made a couple of generators out of car parts electronics and lawnmowers.im very crafty and possess many skills.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Again, as a self-described anarchist, you must have been your element amid all the chaos.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. chris reid

    The factor of weather that mosts indicates the onslaught of global warming is the wind.CNN news weather reporters should begin finding out about this factor by asking persons to contact them about wind conditions around the country and around the planet perhaps they could encourage persons to recieve equipment designed to record wind factors in their neighbourhoos or districts.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chris reid

    The movie the Wizard of OZ and the book it sprang from was based on a tornado.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. FlaPete

    Being a union welder ,gave me the oppartunity to travel to different states for plant,factories,refineries,nukes,etc.Been thru 3 tornadoes in Kansas,Indiana,Alabama,all very scary.My thoughts and prayers go out to the people who went thru Hell this past week.If you've been thru one,you will never forget that train sound and ear poping pressure that comes with these giants of nature.If you survive one,as I have,it makes you feel extremely small compared to one of natures great wonders.God Bless all and I'm sorry for anyone's loss....

    March 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sukhpal

    Thanks for sharing the info about the IMI csaiol media for beginners workshshop! We are rescheduling and welcome better times/dates for those interested, please contact . Thanks so much!

    March 12, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |