Friday, April 27, 2012

In Memoriam of the April 27 Tornadoes in Alabama

It's been a year since tornadoes tore across the state of Alabama in several waves of storms, on April 27, 2011, uprooting trees, homes, and lives. More than two hundred were killed, tens of thousands were left homeless, but none of us were unaffected. Memories of that day are no less vivid now than in the days immediately thereafter. 

I got a call from my tenants in Warrior around 8:30am that a tornado had ripped through that town, damaging my house, but leaving everyone healthy; almost every large tree on the block was downed leaving that landscape forever altered. That afternoon, I watched live footage of a large tornado as it tracked directly toward downtown Cullman, eventually ripping through that city and devastating it.

But those events were only precursors fore what was to come. A couple of hours later, multiple tornadoes touched down in western Alabama and began making their way east. One particular tornado stayed on the ground for more than 120 miles, at times more than a mile wide, and ravaging the likes of Tuscaloosa, Phil Campbell, Pleasant Grove, Pratt City, Fultondale, and on east to Anniston.

What left an equally strong impression as the storms themselves was the outpouring of love, compassion, giving, and humanity from neighbors and strangers across the street, state, and nation, that began in the moments immediately following the devastation and has continued to date. And while the landscape is still scarred, the long road to recovery is well under way.

Earlier posts regarding these tornadoes: Warrior and Fultondale, Fultondale, Tuscaloosa, Pratt City.

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