29 April 2011

Disaster strikes

On Wednesday, April 27, 2011, disaster struck the great state of Alabama.  Numerous tornado-filled storms tore through the state, leaving behind a path of destruction and death.

Storms had already taken lives and property in states to our west before beginning to show their power in Alabama.  The storms began early in the day in North Alabama.  Places such as Phil Campbell, Cullman, Arab, and Hackleburg were affected.  Around 5:01 PM, a large tornado began making its approach to Tuscaloosa, AL.  The Weather Channel and local stations provided live streams of the tornado as it bore down on the city I once called home and still love.  To hear the meteorologists describing what was happening was unbelievable. 

"Krispy Kreme has been demolished." 
"Full Moon Barbecue is no more." 
"You can stand in the parking lot of University Mall and see Coleman Coliseum." 

Words cannot describe how I felt once I was finally able to see pictures of the McFarland Blvd.,/15th Street area.  It was completely unrecognizable.  A poster on www.tidefans.com said his/her son saw pictures and wanted to know if they were of Japan.  In the picture to the left, you can see DCH in the background. 

I later found out that Rosedale Courts, a public housing neighborhood, was essentially wiped from the face of the earth.  Two elementary schools---gone.  Two UA students were among those who lost lives.  So far, 194 deaths in Alabama have been reported. 

As the storm left Tuscaloosa, it headed toward Birmingham.  Again, live, streaming video was being shown, and again, I could not tear my eyes away from the screen.  As the tornado traveled to the east, it grew to a massive size.  The approach was to the north of Birmingham.  At one time, it was believed that the airport would be hit, but the storm went just north of it.

Later, Tallapoosa county was placed under a tornado warning, so John and I got the pups and headed to the basement.  I took the laptop, too, so we could continue to watch the weather.  We didn't stay long because the storm was headed toward the northern part of the county, but we did end up going back down because another storm was headed toward Dadeville.  The path was heading toward StillWaters, a subdivision on the lake not more than a five miles from us.  About the time the meteorologist said that, our power went off, and we heard a distinctive roar.  Within seconds, the power came back on and the roar was gone. 

When I got to work yesterday, I found out that Ed, one of my co-workers, had some damage to his place.  He and his family don't live very far from us, maybe a couple of miles "as the crow flies."  Huge pecan trees were uprooted.  In another part of the county, million dollar homes were decimated at The Ridge subdivision.  One picture shows a pick-up truck thrown on top of downed trees right on the water.  (I can't post any of them but you can view them at http://kennethboone.smugmug.com/News).

I would guess that it is gong to take months for many places to even come close to being "normal" again, and some may end up with a different kind of normal.  For some people--those who experienced the tornadoes first hand or who have lost family or friends--normal may never happen again.  For those, please keep them in your prayers.



Beautiful piece my friend. You made me proud to be an Alabamian. I sat here and cried after reading your post. Thank you for mentioning ALL the places that were damaged. All of those places make/made up the great state of Alabama. Have a good weekend and hope you don't find too much damage.

tammy said...

So scary and so sad. I'm glad you're okay, but heartbroken for all those that have lost.

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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