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Tornado victims searching for ‘new normal’

This article originally appeared on the Jefferson City News Tribune’s website and can be read in its entirety there.

Tornado victims searching for 'new normal'

This is part of a five-part series exploring what was lost, what progress has been made and what challenges remain six months after the May 22 tornado in Jefferson City.

WEDNESDAY: The tornado took minutes to rip apart Capital City history and to leave deep scars.
THURSDAY: Significant strides have been made by some businesses, residents and organizations; many hurdles still remain.
TODAY: On the six-month anniversary of the tornado, a new sense of normal is emerging.
SATURDAY: Much of the immediate focus after the tornado was within Jefferson City limits. But people outside the city still face their own challenges.
SUNDAY: A housing shortage existed before the tornado. Now, the shortage has become a crisis. What work is being done to address the need?

Frustration mounts.

For many affected by the May 22 tornado, resolutions to their concerns aren’t happening fast enough. Some are moving away. Some are angry. Some are reaching a new sense of normalcy.

Alyssa Borchelt, project director for the program who is with the Missouri Department of Mental Health, said counselors began reaching out to people affected by severe weather immediately after it happened.ADVERTISING

At about midnight May 22, an EF-3 tornado, with winds in excess of 160 mph, thrashed through a stretch of eastern Jefferson City, demolishing homes and businesses. Meanwhile, prolonged flooding added to Mid-Missouri residents’ woes.

Counselors continue to contact disaster survivors.

“We’ve heard from a lot of crisis counselors and their team leaders that there is a lot of anger still — anger and frustration,” Borchelt said. “There’s a lot of anxiety because of the unknown. (Survivors are) not sure what is next.”

Crisis counselors are seeing children and adults displaying traumatic stress responses to severe weather and thunderstorms, watches and warnings, as well as rain causing fear, panic and anxiety, she said.