April 27th, 2011
I woke up a few minutes after 5:00 AM at the sound of weather alert siren. It is about a 1/2-1 mile away and we can hear it well when it goes off. Bad weather had been in the forecast and there are always tornado warnings in the northern part of Jefferson County and of course, we get the warnings… I rolled over and went back to sleep. 5:45 AM I wake up to a noise that sounded like a freight train going through our yard. I was up in a flash! My husband was in the shower. I hollered (southern for yelled) at him to say, “Tornado!!!! Get downstairs!” Banged on my daughter’s door (she was already up) and we grabbed our animals and headed to our “safe spot” downstairs in the basement.
By the time we were situated downstairs, it was long over… And the neighborhood was a mess. But just a mess.
Here are some photos of a tree that boarders ours & neighbor’s property. It was a very old, very big hardwood.
Landing on the neighbor’s driveway and cars. But no one’s house and we all still had power.
My husband is standing next to the tree holding an umbrella. It is still raining at this point. Still a tad dark. I had to set the camera on a low light setting.
Twisted and snapped like a toothpick. Our neighborhood is full of old hardwoods and this was pretty much the scene through out. Many pulled out by the roots. Some houses and cars had trees laying across them.
This was only the beginning. You see, this tornado had been in Tuscaloosa, Alabama just a short time before coming to visit us and most of the people there were without power…. that includes TV and radio. As memory recalls, even some of weather alert sirens were down.
I cannot remember if school started on time that day or if we had a delayed opening. I do know that our school got out early because of impending weather forecast for that afternoon. From there we were all glued to the TV. Coverage is so much different than it used to be… Instant and live!
I can remember watching this news station as they were reporting live and feeling helpless.
This weather system heads towards Birmingham….
And we are again horrified as we watch live video on TV. The cloud cover stretched for miles. We went outside to watch what was debris, torn leaves all with the smell of fresh cut wood “rain” down upon us.
Before heading to Birmingham (actually skirting around the northern side) the tornado hit an area called Pleasant Grove. And nearly wiped it out.
This is what it left in it’s path.
This road used to be full of houses.
The area pulled together. Kitchens were set up everywhere. National Guard brought in. Volunteers started coming in from all over the country, just to help were ever they could.
Collection points set up all over. Donations of all kinds.
In a moment, lives were changed. And we persevered because that is what we do! I have heard more testimonies and stories of how God used this horrible weather to His glory and honor.
I love it!
God Bless America!