Those people may have heard the warnings to expect severe thunderstorms, but I imagine they did the same thing I always do---They probably just hoped for the best.
My normal reactions to a severe weather warning are as follows:
First, I cancel any plans to drive anywhere. (Who wants to drive in heavy rain or hail?)
Second, I unplug the computers and TVs and other electronic devices so they won't get hit by a power surge from a lightning strike.
And then, I generally just keep doing the same things I always do inside my house, and hope that the severe weather passes by without incident.
In certain night time situations, I will make everyone sleep on the ground floor of our house instead of upstairs in the bedrooms. But usually I like my bed too much to go to that much trouble.
Thankfully, a tornado has never hit my house. But if it did, it would come as a surprise, as it did to those 89 unfortunate souls. There is just no way to ever know precisely that your house will be a target for any particular tornado.
ON THE OTHER HAND...
The reason I prefer hurricanes is that you KNOW they are coming. When a hurricane is approaching your area, you have a couple of days of really serious preparation time. You shouldn't talk yourself out of it, or just HOPE that it will miss you. Hurricanes are over a hundred miles wide, and if it is coming in your direction you better assume trouble is on its way and make some plans.
We haven't had a direct hit here in the Raleigh area since Hurricane Fran on Sept. 5-6, 1996, so we are overdue for another one.
Governor Purdue has issued a statement concerning the upcoming hurricane season: