And I'm Melissa Block. Yesterday, after the tornado hit Moore, Okla., word began to filter out about schools - two elementary schools directly in the storm's path, flattened. Suzanne Sells' daughter, Claire, is a fifth grader at one of those schools, Plaza Towers. Today happens to be Claire's 11th birthday. As the tornado approached, Ms. Sells was busy at work taking care of her own students. She's a teacher at Moore High School, a couple of miles away from Plaza Towers Elementary.
Their letter noted that communities, such as Elkton in Douglas County and Oakridge in Lane County, were cut off from power and any outside assistance during the storm. More than 100,000 Oregonians lost power, with restoration of power often taking several weeks to nearly a month. Additionally, Hwy 101 in Curry County continues to have only one lane open due to a landslide.
During the ice storm, King was busy - her husband was away at a conference, she needed to place her two young children somewhere where there was electricity, her mother-in-law, recovering from a broken hip, was staying with King, and King was emptying out sump pumps.
\"Project Ice Storm is the only study that I'm aware of which is taking an event which is relatively randomly assigned to women, which is very distressful,\" says King. \"To get those women while they were still pregnant, to find out their kinds of attributions about the storm, measure their hormones and follow these women through birth, through infancy and through childhood.\"
In June 1998, King arranged for doctors at four area hospitals to send mail-in questionnaires to women who were pregnant during the ice storm or who became pregnant within three months after it ended. Of the first 1,440 questionnaires, King received only 224 responses.
\"This study is not a good epidemiological study of the effects of the ice storm on women in the Montérégie,\" King concedes. But the study will help King, a senior research fellow at the Douglas Hospital Research Centre, learn more about how prenatal stress affects women and their children.
And the greater the stress during the storm, the smaller the babies were at birth. Women reporting at least one obstetric complication experienced higher feelings of threat during the storm, showed post-traumatic stress symptoms and had significantly more severe depression and anxiety symptoms during the pregnancy.
Higher levels of maternal cortisol during the pregnancy were associated with babies scoring higher for difficultness, inadaptability and dullness. Having had a maternal cold or flu while pregnant was associated with fussy babies needing more attention. And babies whose mothers experienced higher ice storm stress and whose mothers had a cold or flu were rated as the most difficult.
Of the children brought into the laboratory at age two and tested using the Bayley Scales of Development, those whose mothers experienced moderate to high levels of ice storm stress had significantly lower IQ scores than children of mothers in the low-stress group. And this effect was greatest in children exposed to the ice storm during the second trimester - their mothers reported they recognized and spoke fewer words than other children their age.
An increase in storm damage along the east coast of the United States coincides with secular variations of the general circulation documented by several recent investigations. To determine the coupling between large-scale circulation patterns and extratropical storms along the mid-Atlantic coast, a principal-component analysis is used to characterize patterns of 5-day mean surface pressure and, within objective categories of these patterns, conditional probabilities of storm occurrences are calculated. Based on this probabilistic coupling, secular variations in frequencies of surface pressure patterns are used to estimate secular variations in mid-Atlantic storm climate. The results suggest that a significant trend has occurred in large-scale circulation. Physical interpretation of this change suggests an increase in the frequency of high-latitude blocking. Associated recent secular changes in storm climate are 1) an offshore displacement of the mean storm track; 2) an increase in the number of storms moving offshore; and 3) a tendency toward two modes, rather than one, of storm tracks along the mid-Atlantic coast. Since such changes alter the frequency of extreme wave and surge conditions along the coast, the consequences are highly significant in terms of human impact. 59ce067264