Thursday, May 5, 2011

I'm back! Alive and well, and with power again!

Ahhh... it's nice to be back.  I know I'm a slacker and should have posted early last week with Easter photos and such, but well... things got busy, and then it was Wednesday...

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011... a very long and exhausting day, but one that will go down in history!  If you haven't heard of the tornadoes that ripped through the Southeastern United States, then you will have after reading this...

Tornadoes are something that we get used to hearing about in the South in the Spring time... during the Spring when the weather can't make up it's mind whether or not it wants to be hot or cold, storms start brewing and we get the best of it.  I live in North Alabama and when the weatherman starts showing us lines of storms coming from Mississippi, we can pretty much count on them passing through our area as well.

I expected last Wednesday to be a stormy day, I expected there to be tornado warnings and to be sent to take cover in the hallways at work when the sirens went off.  It was a pretty nasty day from the start.  I had to get to work early to finish up a project that I had been working on and so I left my house around 6am.  I drove through some really bad wind and rain on my way to work.  As soon as I sat down at my desk, the few of us who were there already were notified of the first tornado warning of the day and sent to the hallway for cover.  (FYI - anytime a warning is issued for our county then they make us go to the halls for safety reasons)

By 11:30am I was being called to the hallway for the 3rd time of the day.  The storms were a lot worse than anyone expected, and they just kept coming our way.  There had already been some very devastating tornadoes in our state and with the way things were looking for the rest of the day, the closed my work and sent us all home around 12:30pm.  I ended up going over to my In-Laws house because that is where my girls were at.  We spent the entire day there watching the weatherman show us photos and maps of the lines of tornadoes that were still headed our way.

This is from the National Weather Service and shows the paths of the tornadoes that came through our area and their EF rating.  We live right between the EF1 and EF5... just barely missed us on either side.

Around 7pm, we decided that we really had to try to get home... or make sure we still had a home to get to at least.

It was a very scary drive home.  What normally takes about 20 minutes, took us an hour.  The main problem was that so many of the roads were blocked by fallen trees, power lines and flooding that we kept having to turn around and find an alternate way home.

When we finally made it home, we were very happy to see that yes, our house was still standing.  There was no damage, and everything was just fine.  We were very lucky!

About a mile North of us is where the F5 passed over - many homes were destroyed, many people injured and too many lives lost.

These are a few photos that I snapped of the area a few days ago.  There has been major cleanup done before these were taken, but you can still see the impact that it made...







These photos really are nothing compared to the other areas in this path...

This is a photo I found of a grocery store that was hit on Hwy 53 near the Anderson Hills community.  The blue roof building in the background is a credit union building that only suffered slight damage (windows blown out, roof damage, etc.) compared to the rubble of the grocery store.

Lots of other photos can be found here if you are interested.

We were definitely really lucky to have gotten through this virtually unaffected.  We were without power for 6 days and therefore inconvenienced when it came to being able to do things like take a hot shower or watch TV, but really that's all it was for us personally.  I definitely won't complain one bit!

I've got more stories and photos about how we kept ourselves and two toddlers entertained for 6 days of no power... but more on that in a few days.
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