Today is the five year anniversary of a major disaster in Alabama. On April 27, 2011, the state of Alabama was hit with more than sixty tornadoes. At the time, I was working in Public Health Emergency Preparedness. There were warnings that this could happen and people were warned to be prepared.
There were three EF-5 tornadoes in the mix. Those are storms with winds of over 200 miles an hour.
On that day I went to work as usual and sat at my desk. We were told to keep an intense watch on what was happening in case we needed to evacuate or shelter. As the lower floor of one end of our building was set into the side of the hill, that was the safe spot. So sheltering was a highly likely option. I ate lunch at my desk that day because personally, I could not make myself leave.
As we watched the weather on our computers - often with several sites open at once to get maximum coverage - we saw live coverage from un-manned weather cameras mounted across the state. The most watched weatherman was streaming live and showing this footage. Suddenly, he said "I believe that is the Tuscaloosa EMA" - my boss and I both said "Tommy is in there!" in horror. (Tommy did the same job as my boss, but in the Tuscaloosa area) We watched the building disappear with our jaws dropped and our stomachs in our throats. There was a path of destruction that went across the entire state that day. It was unbelievable. On tornado did pass several miles to the north of us, but we never had to shelter that day. We were spared that devastation.
The next day, we had a statewide staff meeting via phone conference. As everyone was checking in, we heard Tommy say, "I am here." Lots of voices talked at once. The outcome was that the folks at the EMA had sheltered in the basement and were safe, but had to dig their way out.
Then during "report," Tommy said, "Hey, I won't be able to do the generator checks this month. We can't find them. " Everyone laughed.
So, may I remind you all, please be safe. Please have your own emergency plan in place. Have medicines, important documents (or copies on a flash drive,) and other items ready in case you have to evacuate or shelter.
I was going to post some photos of the disaster - but my photos from that time are archived. But yuo can search it on Google or click this link to see them.
Since I dislike posts without some type of photo here are a couple from my website
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