Last Thursday the clinic operation had concluded, and MSFC was still not open. What to do… After a week of such intense activity, the clinic staff had become my new family – and that was my new job. NASA seemed so far away. I had learned the night before that co-workers were helping a team member who had taken nearly a direct-hit from the storm in Tanner, Alabama – about 15 miles west of me.
I went to help, taking everything that was still in the Subaru, and adding some more as I wasn’t sure what to expect. Understanding that this was a full week after the storm, I was still shocked at what I saw. I still have a hard time with some of these pictures, recognizing that there were at least three fatalities in this neighborhood. The pictures speak for themselves, I don’t want to get into a description of the horrific devastation I encountered. This is my first and hopefully only F5 tornado. It is so hard to believe this is real. I do want to post these pics tho, because most folks saw the news, and accepted that it was bad, and have already moved on. It is still bad, and will be for a long time.
Here is a link to my DropBox gallery from that day:
Greg’s house was not destroyed, but one end of the roof was torn open, and every room inside has suffered water damage. Nearly every tree on his two lots has already been cut up and prepped for burning. Large burn piles release huge plumes of thick black smoke. Several of the lots have already been completely bulldozed with only a few piles of rubble left. The main thing I could help with was to connect a second generator to his daughters house next door, and re-connect the generator into the two panels at his house – to make sure it would be safe for the next week or so.
Seeing the destruction wrought by the 200+ mph winds, it is truly a miracle that anything was spared. The survivors there are surprisingly calm and obviously counting their blessings. They know it will be a long road to recovery. They know the value of their friends and neighbors – and are seriously grateful.
Help your neighbors every chance you get.
I keep telling myself, that these are only two or three neighborhoods that I’ve been directly connected to. I just have a hard time comprehending how much destruction and suffering has gone on over the path of this one storm. The NWS stats for this one tornado indicate a damage track (in Alabama) of ~132 miles with a maximum width of 1.25 miles, max winds of 200+ mph, and 26 fatalities across 6 counties. And this was only ONE of the many, many tornadoes reported that day. For a chilling look at how ugly it was, try this composite view of the rotation tracks recorded by NOAA. http://www.norman.noaa.gov/2011/04/nssl-product-captures-april-27-tornado-outbreak-storm-rotation-tracks/
OK, I don’t plan on more pics of destruction, but I will surely have more links to stats and other information on this event as I encounter more detail.
Thanks again for your prayers and continued support. /;^)