Congressman Randy Forbes | Capitol Monitor
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April 29, 2011 Twitter Facebook YouTube Digg RSS

Facing Nature’s Most Violent Storms

This week we witnessed the second deadliest tornado outbreak our nation has seen since 1950. Hundreds of people were killed and entire neighborhoods were left in ruins in the wake of a deadly series of storms and tornadoes. In Virginia, we lost five lives.

Tornadoes are some of nature’s most violent storms. They can appear without warning and be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Their winds can reach 300 miles per hour, and they can leave damage paths in excess of a mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state in the U.S. is at some risk of this potentially fatal hazard.

The following are facts about tornadoes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

  • They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 MPH, but may vary from stationary to 70 MPH.
  • Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.

FEMA also provides information about how you can protect yourself:


Be alert to changing weather conditions:  

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
  • Look for approaching storms.
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train. 

If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.


If you’re in a structure
(e.g. residence, building, school, shopping center): Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
If you’re in a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home: Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
If you’re outside with no shelter: Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries


In the aftermath of a tornado, it can be difficult to know how to approach the recovery and rebuilding process. FEMA offers guidance on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal:  

For additional information, or to make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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Responding to a Growing Dependence on Federal Aid  

According to a recent USA Today study, Americans depended more on federal government aid in 2010 than at any other time in U.S. history, due to the expansion of health care and other federal programs, the aging population, and lingering economic challenges.

Last year, 18.3% of the nation’s total personal income was payment from the government for Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment benefits, and other programs. By comparison, from 1980 to 2000, the portion of personal income from government assistance was essentially constant at 12.5%.

This growing dependence on federal government assistance underscores the pressing need to reform our nation’s entitlement programs, which are currently in a state of rapid decline. Without reform, it is estimated that the Medicare program will go bankrupt in 2021, and the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted within the next 20 to 30 years. Meanwhile, our social safety net is wearing dangerously thin at a time when we need it to support more people than ever.

I am committed to rescuing our federal aid programs and ensuring that they are available to future generations, and that’s why I voted for the 2012 budget proposal, The Path to Prosperity. This bill:

  • Strengthens the social safety net by repairing the broken Medicaid system and enhancing our government assistance programs;
  • Saves Medicare by protecting those currently in and near retirement from any disruptions while ensuring that future beneficiaries have access to Medicare; and
  • Forces the President and Congress to take action to guarantee that Social Security is there for future generations.

Are you concerned about a growing dependence of citizens on the federal government?  Let me know by taking my latest InstaPoll here.  You can also join the conversation and share your thoughts and concerns on my blog.

Job Opening: Chesapeake Constituent Services Representative

The Office of Congressman Forbes is accepting applications for an immediate opening for a Constituent Services Representative (CSR) for the Chesapeake District Office.  The CSR serves as the primary contact for constituents seeking help with a federal matter from the Congressional office and is responsible for handling all aspects of federal casework on behalf of constituents.

Click the link to read more about this position.

Gas Prices: Threatening Jobs

Latest predictions show the correlation between gas prices and job losses. Americans are ready to get back to work. Congressman Forbes has cosponsored the Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy, and Deficit Reduction Act, which will help to create jobs.

Click the link to read more about the bill.

Visa Lottery Elimination

The visa lottery program awards permanent resident visas based on pure luck, and is unfair to immigrants who comply with U.S. immigration laws.  Congressman Forbes has cosponsored the Security and Fairness Enforcement (SAFE) for America Act, which would eliminate the visa lottery program.

Click the link to read more about the bill.
Other News
April 27, 2011 
April 27, 2011
April 25, 2011
Congressman Forbes spoke with seniors at the 23rd Annual Senior Support Services Seminar in Chesapeake on April 12th.
Congressman Forbes discussed the concerns of the hard-working employees at Truck Enterprises, Inc. in Chesapeake.
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