I had intended to post some pictures from our sew-in for my next post----and I will in a day or two but that is not what is on my heart today. Distant friends, family and my blog readers may be wondering...............
Yesterday the State of Alabama went through the worst weather outbreak of tornadoes they have ever experienced. The weather guy says a "once in a lifetime weather event" and compared it to another similar outbreak from April 1974. Other states were involved, don't get me wrong, but I think Alabama bore the brunt of it. It may not be done yet as this heads to the East Coast and Atlantic Seaboard. You can read about it HERE or possibly you have read about it in your own local paper since it is on the AP wire. Or it may have made the national news blurbs. There is video on You Tube HERE of some of what we were seeing yesterday in weather coverage. There is also good information on the ABC 3340 weather blog HERE, a source that I use often.
Often when we have tornadoes in the state they seem to move in a track that roughly follows I-59 which angles across the state from Tuscaloosa on up towards Chattanooga, TN. The topography of the land made it a good spot to build the interstate but it looks like tornado alley. We watch our weather guys on ABC 3340 track them across the state----the tornadoes pop up and blessedly, peter out or pop back up in the clouds and dissipate before they quite get to Calhoun County. DJ and I breathe a sigh of relief and he goes out to check if any shingles blew off the house the next morning.
Yesterday that was not how these things were behaving. Wave after wave of tornadoes were coming and these were the long track kind. They were definitely down, staying down, 1/2 mile and at least a mile wide and nasty------and heading for extremely populated areas of the state. Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and its suburbs, downtown Cullman just to name a few areas that kept getting bombarded. Worse yet, we were seeing them form right in front of our eyes on the u-stream, on the video, because of the continuous weather coverage.
DJ and I are fine. One tornado tracked just a tad to the north of us apparently in a similar path as the Palm Sunday tornado in 1994---Piedmont and the Cherokee-Calhoun County line. (Mary Frances will remember that one and I knew about it even when I lived in IL) . It occurs to me now, that this was the very same tornado that was on the ground from MS, thru Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Fultondale, Ohatchee in the northwest part of my county and then on to Rome and Ringgold, GA.
Later another would come up from the south end of the county. We were hearing parts of our more immediate area called out on the radio . There was rotation spotted on radar and moving towards the north. By that time we were without power for a couple hours. Following our tornado plan we sat in the bathroom and/or interior hallway with hard hats on. Skyler spent most of the day under the bed---he hears the sirens, weather alert radio, wind, blowing rain, thunder, he's gone. Even after that threat ended, another one seemed to be heading our way from Talledega but that one did seem to peter out and go away. We went to bed. Anyway, we dodged the bullet in our immediate area. The northwestern part of the county was not so lucky. (Our house is sorta central Calhoun County)
Before the worst of the weather blew in from MS earlier in the afternoon, parts of the state had been hit by straight line winds. The NOA radio was going off about 6:30 in the morning. We did the hard hat routine around 7 a.m. Parts of the county already had trees down, damage to property and such. I had seen the pictures from an area west of Jacksonville (Pleasant Valley), near Ohatchee, Ragland, huge tree had fallen on the Victoria Inn in downtown Anniston from our local paper's website. A quilting acquaintance of mine that lives near J'ville had reported her roof was gone, lots of trees down, and outbuildings gone in that blast of weather. There was a death reported on the radio but that later proved to be incorrect. It cleared up, the sun came out, we had a 1/4 inch of rain in the gauge and no missing shingles. DJ was able to go to his morning doctor's appointment without detours or difficulties. We even went out to his fav spot for an early birthday lunch.
But it got worse, far worse last night. I don't know if you will be able to open this article in our local paper or not as you may need to be a subscriber. Anyway, it describes a situation similar to what they are finding all across the state. There are flattened houses that may or may not have survivors in them but they can't get to the houses to check due to downed trees and power lines.
Last night the reporters described people were being carried out by volunteers on doors or boards whatever they can find in Pleasant Grove, near BHM. Things that WERE there are gone, just gone. The death toll is rising as search and rescue does its job and cleanup efforts begin. The National Guard has been called up.
No part of the country is immune to some form of natural disaster, I know. We personally are fine but others in the state are hurting, badly. Please keep them in your prayers.
Now, since the power is back on I have no excuses for not heading out to the kitchen to make that Dutch Apple Pie I promised the birthday boy. (THX Marilyn for the offer of your oven last night. Power came back on about 30 minutes after we spoke.)