Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornadoes and Devastation

As many of you may have seen on the news, the southeast has been hit by some incredibly severe and devastating weather over the past 24-48 hours.

Matt and I were awakened by an incredibly scary electrical storm yesterday around 5:30am...howling winds, green skies and what looked and sounded like fireworks as transformers were blown all around the neighborhood. Obviously we lost power and after everything calmed down we went outside to survey the damage. Large, thick tree limbs narrowly missed our cars and were strewn about our yard and driveway and there were HUGE mature (75+ year old) trees down all throughout our neighborhood, the root bases so large that some people's yards are almost gone. As much as I wanted to take pictures, I just felt it was wrong to photograph my neighbors' destruction and loss. I went to work as normal, though I had no idea what was to come.

Reports of huge tornadoes and storms to the north of us were coming in throughout the day. A huge tornado touched down and destroyed much of Cullman, a town about 45 minutes north of here. With additional reports of dangerous storm cells on the move towards Birmingham, we headed home around 4:30 hoping to get to safety in advance of the weather. I had forgotten my phone charger at home that morning and so, once I got home and was with Matt, I turned it off wanting to conserve the little amount of remaining battery for emergency and I knew I would need it later as an alarm clock.

When I turned my phone on around 11:15pm, I had a barrage of text messages indicating that things were devastating but I did not really check the news or Facebook at that point because I didn't have the battery life on my phone to do it. When additional texts started rolling in around 5:45 this morning, I started checking the news sites.

What I have been reading and watching has been sickening and devastating, especially in Tuscaloosa (45 minutes west and home to the University of Alabama). This same system was also spawning massive tornadoes in north Birmingham suburbs and downtown and there are people in my office who have family members who have lost everything. My coworker's friend and 2 roommates were killed in Tuscaloosa, as the tornado ripped through their home. Listening to the mayor of Tuscaloosa on the radio this morning, I cried and truly feel nauseous thinking about the devastation and destruction.

My heart truly goes out to everyone affected. I really don't know what else to say.

Downtown Birmingham tornado (my office building is visible and I don't know how I even have anything to come to work to today)

Tuscaloosa Tornado (storm chaser version)

Tuscaloosa Tornado (someone in the direct path)

Articles and additional photos