Madison County Tornado – 3 weeks on

So hard to believe that it has been three weeks already. Nearly a month.
Sometimes it seems so long ago, other times – like it just happened..
Took a drive last Saturday thru our ‘Tornado Zone’, to show Lenore and Shelby how bad it really was – and to get a few more photos. There was a hope that they might better understand how and why this has affected me so deeply. We’ll see.

photo locations in tornado path

Photo locations inside and around tornado paths

This map from the NWS storm survey, showing purple dots where I have taken photos – some were linked in previous blog posts. The smaller inset locates this map in a larger view of the tornado scar across Limestone and Madison Counties.

http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/1931686/1/MadisonCountyTornado_20110522?h=3b2552
This batch of photos starts in the south-west corner of the map, near the Limestone County Prison where many of the TVA transmission towers were destroyed. You can see that this re-construction is well under way. The fields are so broad and open – the tornado was about a half mile wide here. There is a large field just north of there that is receiving a steady stream of dump trucks bringing tree debris and the remains of houses, several acres have already piled up.
The photo path winds north and east – back and forth across the chaos; Love Branch Rd, Orville Smith Rd, Smith-Vasser Rd, Lockhart Rd, Yarbrough Rd, Wall-Triana Hwy, Stovall Rd, Ford Chapel Rd. . . Thunderbird Rd brings us into the south side of Anderson Hills; Maverick Dr, and Taurus Dr. From the crest of the hill you can barely see the remains of the top of the Piggly-Wiggly grocery store on Hwy 53, under the power lines. I was working at the NAMRC field clinic,  setup in the cafeteria at Sparkman School, about a half mile south of there. (I’ve also updated http://w4hmc.wordpress.com this week) . . .

blown away

Swept completely off the foundation . . .

This one was apparently swept clean off the foundation – you can see the bricks on the left, the entire first floor reduced to nothing more than toothpicks, rubble and dust. I see not only the houses that have been smashed, but the people that can’t live there anymore, and don’t have anywhere to put what little they might have left.
I can’t imagine the horror of being inside some of these homes I’ve seen,
hiding from this tornado – while the roof & the walls are being sucked away…..

Some of these folks had not much to start with, and what little they had may now be completely gone. And they are thankful to be alive, and wanting to help their neighbors first. They are all so grateful for our help.   Please do !!
They know first-hand the value of life.

I’m sure I’ll get beyond all this someday, but I will never be the same.
I’ve heard this referred to as survivor’s guilt
I was not threatened like this,    I had no fear,    I lost nothing,
but I feel their pain and suffering …………… it is very real.
It’s actually related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I have nothing but respect and praise for all the emergency personnel;
volunteer firefighters, deputies and first-responders…
that do the hardest part in these disasters – search and rescue, and the inevitable recovery of the friends and neighbors that lost their lives. I’m sure that in that line of work, they have training, and experience that helps them to prepare themselves for these hard parts, and hopefully the joy in helping save others helps balance out that pain. It can’t be easy . . .
God Bless Them All. . .

Thanks for reading. The writing helps…  /;^)

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One response to “Madison County Tornado – 3 weeks on

  1. Pingback: ÆtherCzar is Back, Reporting on the North Alabama Tornadoes » ÆtherCzar

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