Feature Story

Alabama Tornado Aftermath

The Wall has Fallen

Although I am from the Northwest, I have been living in Indiana with my wife for several years, and I love the "big weather" that is all but absent from my hometown. That includes tornados, which I find facinating.

Unfortunately, the recent super-storm that spawned hundreds of tornados missed us completely and ravaged the south instead. My son and his girlfriend live in Huntsville, Alabama, and watched as the sky turned green and the storm moved in. Guided by a voice on the radio, they spent that night in a storm shelter at a local college, and listened as the winds came in to scour the land above them.

The storm missed my boy, but lots of tornados touched down nearby. In fact, a vacant storefront a stone's throw from his apartment was torn apart.

Over the weekend, my wife and I drove down for a visit, and were impressed by the hard work and charitable spirit of the locals. Already, there is little to see. Damage is being repaired, businesses are reopening, and the lights are back on. Local businesses have offered food, water, and showers, and the local government response has been top notch from the the warnings and organization before the storm, to the cleanup and aid offered afterward.

On the way out of town, we chanced upon a neighborhood that had been all but destroyed by what must have been the tornado equivalent of The Hulk. I can only hope that no one was killed in what must have been a terrifying calamity.

Like the trespassing snooper that I am, I pulled over to stroll through a part of the damaged area and shoot a few photos. A storefront was demolished to my left, and a home and a trailer had been blown to pieces to my right. In front of me, I saw trees blown right out of the ground and others broken in half.

Behind me, The tornado had crossed the road and torn through a nearly new upscale neighborhood of brick McMansions. Some homes appeared untouched, while neighboring structures were demolished. The brick fence that lined the road had been blown completely down, and personal posessions littered the yards.

But I am much less shocked by the magnitude of the damage than I am by the fact that we, as a race, still share the arrogant notion that we are in charge. Rest assured that she has a good laugh every day at our attempts to shape her domain, hold back her waters, and "manage" her wildlife.

Remember that Mother Nature made us, and she can destroy us. As Bill Cosby said, "I brought you into this world, I can take you out!"

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1 response

  • je suis moi

    je suis moi gave props (21 May 2011):

    Voted. I live in South Alabama. We need the rain, but thank goodness we missed these storms. Thank goodness your son and freinds are OK. Your quote says it all.

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