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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where I've Been.....

Well, well, well.....where to begin?

So very sorry for the long absence.  I'm guessing this all started back on the wee early morning of April 27, 2011 and what a day it turned out to be!  

Okay, for those that don't know, we live in a small community which is generally smack in the middle of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama!

I checked the weather (being the nervous nelly that I am about the weather) before going to bed that Tuesday night and saw that we might have an early bout of storms and decided I would check first thing when we got up the next morning at 4 am.  So, we got up, turned on the TV and sure enough, the storms were a little rougher than they had expected them to be that morning and there was a pretty strong storm in our county heading our general direction.  We went about getting hubby ready for work and keeping an eye on the weather.  Right after he left for work, the storm had become tornadic and was just south of us and heading this direction, but seemed to be heading just a scooch east of us, so I relaxed a little and sent a text to my teacher friend to be sure she wasn't getting caught up in all of this.

They then started commenting that this storm had left a damage path (in a section of the county I lived in and grew up in way back when I was a teenager)!  It soon became evident that this storm also was still damaging stuff, including 6 miles to the east of us, where it knocked out the power and destroyed trees that were near a century old.  Made them look like they had been tossed about like toothpicks!

Meanwhile, my friend, Marci, called me and I talked to her during her drive into work.  Sure enough, she was smack in the middle of this storm as it started to hit the Birmingham area and she was telling me she was seeing what looked like transformers blowing.  I kept watching the local weatherman and we soon found out that Ms. Craziness had just driven right through that tornadic storm as it headed into the Birmingham/Inverness/Cahaba Heights area and left another path of power outages and trees and power poles down everywhere!

So the storms sort of finally died down and the rest of our day was relatively peaceful.  Now, mind you, we had been warned for up to 6 days now that the parameters were looking to be just ripe for a historical tornadic outbreak that Wednesday.  I'm certain they had no idea how very right they were.

I started working and keeping an eye on the radar, nervous nelly jumping up every 10 minutes to check outside.  When our local weatherman, James Spann, came home and started long-form coverage (as they started doing many years ago for tornado warnings and to keep us informed of just exactly where the storms were heading and what, if any, damage they were doing), I really got the nervous gene in high gear!  By the time hubby called to say they were letting them come home an hour early, I had supper all fixed and my "tornado" bag packed.  I take the important stuff with us if we have to haul it to the neighbors' basement -- medicines, purses, wallets, billfold, laptop (LOL)!  

So we managed to get supper eaten and the kitchen cleaned up and hubby had gone to sit in the recliner for a bit.  He had just nodded off when they started issuing the warnings for Tuscaloosa county again, stating that this was a big, bad one and that they could even see the debris ball from the tornado on the radar.  They started scanning the local weather cams they have set up around the state and sure enough, there it was.  The most ominously black wedge I've ever seen, just eating up my home town!  They started reporting lots and lots of damage reports and we knew we needed to get to the storm shelter.  Granted, I had to wake hubby up to even see the footage, but once he saw that coming our way, out we went in the rain to the shelter.  

Very, very shortly after we got into the shelter and settled just a bit (I would say on the estimate of less than 5 minutes or so) all the trees started pulling to the direction of the storm path, just bending like plastic that way, and there was this really creepy whistling sound, sounding as if the storm was so massively huge and destructive that it was sucking the air from up to 2 miles away into it!

Here's some links of the footage and pictures of the aftermath:

There are so many pics, that most are slideshows:
(on this one, the 2nd picture, right after the statement for the tornado emergency, is the tornado that came right through Tuscaloosa and the one we were watching live.  The view of this picture is looking at the tornado after it crossed one of the major thoroughfares in Tuscaloosa heading east.  The condos in the picture were only on the next block from some of the heaviest destruction)

(Pics from tornadoes that ravaged our state that fateful Wednesday)  There were so many in so many different areas of the state that day, you just didn't know where to be at any given time. 

The videos from the storm chasers that day (and the TV station too) say it all

We were extremely fortunate in that the storm ultimately headed east from Tuscaloosa and the storm path is less than 2 miles from our house straight through the woods!  On our way home tonight from Tuscaloosa we passed the 2 areas of destruction in the Peterson/Brookwood areas and noticed that some of the worst of the worst still are without power in those sections.  

That particular tornado went on to the east of us and continued to destroy most things in its path.  Ultimately it has been reported to have stayed on the ground for more than 300 miles, all the way into Virginia, I believe.

The reason for my absence was we lost power for several days, internet and phone for right at 2 weeks, so I'm just now getting back to normal, but ever so thankful I'm able to write this blog post from the comfort of my home, which only had 1 smaller tree up against the kitchen window (which was pretty scary to see when we came back home after dark - LOL)!  I'm so glad to be back enjoying some designing and look forward to better and brighter days ahead, although my home town will forever be changed, places of special childhood memories are now gone and it will take months to a year for our town to return to some semblance of normalcy!  Right now it's a sea of volunteers from just about everywhere, construction trucks, power crews, phone crews, cable crews, debris removal crews and just general great neighbors and good Samaritans who have come to the aid of this pretty great city when they need it! 


Kara said...

Nette, I'm so glad you all were safe and you all made it through this storm! Miss you my dear friend! Drop me an email soon! - Many hugs! :)

Tasha said...

So glad you are ok! How scary that must've been =/

Dixie said...

Wow, Nette---what a GREAT explain! I was missing you but had no idea you were attracting a tornado! Soooooooo glad you are back, safe & sound!

Lou said...

Glad you are all safe.
It's hard to imagine as being in the UK we don't see much of that way in storms, we get the odd storm but not to the extent you have just that must of been really scary..