Sunday, May 22, 2011

April 27, 2011 A Day We Won't Soon Forget

The morning of Wednesday April 27th started out as any other day. We watched the news as we were getting ready for work (as we do every morning) and knew that there was a chance for some pretty severe weather later that morning and into the afternoon. When you live in Alabama you are totally used to the word "tornado."

Rob and I carpooled that day and on the way to drop him off I kept complaining that my chest was hurting. I kept having this sharp pain but figured it was heart burn or indigestion or the like. I dropped Rob off and headed to my office.

Throughout the morning we kept an eye on the weather at work and around 11:30 we took cover for what would be the beginning of a LONG day! I kept joking with my staff about my chest I took some Tums. Those chest pains lasted until late that night....strange how your body might be telling you something! Rob told me the next time I have those pains, I should keep it to myself. HA!

While taking cover we watched a tornado pass over Redstone Arsenal. Little did I know part of that same storm system had hit my neighborhood just moments before.

Around noon, Rob called and said his office was closing for the day, so I left around 1:00 to pick him up and head home. We knew that the main road we live off of was closed in sections so we really didn't know what we were going towards.

The closer we got to our neighborhood, the worse things started looking. When we got to the main road that we live on, Madison County deputies were blocking it and would only let residents through. The main road was closed because power lines and trees had wrapped themsevles around each other and were littering the road. What few trees were left were completely scalped. Since the roads were littered, we couldn't get to our street. Luckily we were able to turn onto the street before ours which is still part of our subdivision. All of the roads to our house were blocked so we had to leave our car a street over and start walking to our house.

I will say these moments were some of the scariest of my life. All I wanted to do was walk in my house and see our dogs! As we rounded the corner and saw our house we saw a MESS! Our house was still standing but there were trees covering the garage end of the house and all of our trees were down. Our neighborhood was started in the early 80s so there were LOTS of mature trees. Our yard lost about 10 sycamore trees (that all hit our house), a magnolia, an oak tree and 2 pine trees.

This magnolia was in our front yard. It was the only tree that fell in our yard that did not hit anything.
One of our columns on the front porch blew completely off of the porch. That's my welcome mat in the shrubs.This was the view from my back patio. These are huge sycamores that fell. Notice our patio umbrella and chairs. Somehow the glass table came out without a scratch! This is the back corner of our house (garage). Those trees on the garage caused this hole. We have 2 gaping holes in the garage ceiling caused by the trees.

We have LOTS of water spots in the garage and a few small ones in the house.

Our back yard (looking toward the house)
That black blob was a grill

These are a few of the sycamores that fell. Notice the privacy fence that got taken out. There used to be a gate there. Somehow this piece of tree was still standing (which was behind our privacy fence) but the privacy fence was blown on the tree. It looked as if someone had nailed it to the fence.

These were some of the trees on the house. Notice Rob's old Chevy truck (also known as Bessie) lived through it without a scratch! (Of course Mother Nature wouldn't do me a favor and get rid of that truck! HA!)

The roof once we got the trees off

The winds pushed our mailbox over

When we got home and started assessing the damage, our neighbor came outside and said there was another storm coming through and it was coming through the same path. Beginning around 2:00 and going through the evening, we stayed in our bathroom (our safe place). Tornado systems just kept coming through the same path but thankfully nothing further hit our neighborhood. Unfortunately though, areas around us took a BLOW of an EF4 tornado that afternoon. Total neighborhoods and businesses were destroyed and lives were lost.

At one point, the people on the radio said there were too many tornadoes on the radar and they didn't have enough time to tell everyone so they told everyone that could hear the radio to take cover! It was the most unbelievable day!!!

It is still unbeliveable to see all of the devestation around us. I keep wondering when I will stop feeling like someone punched me in the stomach when I turn onto my street. Sometimes, at odd moments I still get a lump in my throat and cry and I have no idea how long that will last. I am SO lucky to have my life and everyone around me as well as my house that is still standing. Sometimes the emotions from that day are just too much! I pray that we NEVER see another day like that...EVER!!

Just because I want to document this...According to the National Weather Service our tornado was an EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of 110 mph. The damage width was 200 yards and the distance was 24.2 miles. The storm started at 11:30 am and ended at 12:05

"This tornado touched down south of Highway 72 in east Limestone County, uprooting large hardwood trees. The tornado moved northeast, snapping trees and removing shingles, crossing Capshaw Road near Old Railroad Bed Road. Numerous power poles were snapped. The tornado dissipated in the Deposit community." Information from NWS.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR ALABAMA! WE ARE A STRONG STATE WITH STRONG PEOPLE BUT WE STILL NEED PRAYERS! Total communites were wiped out and the rebuilding process is a LONG process! But I can honestly say, I have NEVER been more proud to call myself an Alabamian!