Thursday, May 5, 2011

Close Call - 4/27/11 Tornado

It's hard to believe that a mere week ago today I was just beginning to comprehend the enormity of the storm. My heart has been breaking ever since. I have never in my life seen such destruction without the filter of a television screen. I have also never seen so many people reaching out in the name of Love to help God's people. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that my family escaped this deadly storm. And equally overwhelmed with guilt that the only damage I have suffered is emotional. My home is in perfect condition, my power is back on, my family is safe. But all around me are people who are hurting. If I were to choose to let it, life could return to "normal". Instead, I am praying that I learn from this. That I can glean some kind of lesson from this storm. God will use this devastation for HIS good. He did NOT cause it. But He WILL bless it.

My sister wrote this email to send to her friends back home just after everything happened. I thought she did a great job explaining our story. A story of thankfulness.

We traveled by car to my sister’s home just south of Birmingham, Alabama. We left Ohio around 8:30 AM. We faced terrible conditions in Chattanooga as we drove through an area that had just been hit by tornado, but it was nothing compared to what was about to come. I could see the radar on my phone and was tracking the storms as we continued to make our way. We were literally playing chicken with the storm as I saw it travel towards Tuscaloosa. It was only a matter of time before it reached Bessemer, which is where my sister and her family live. We arrived to their house around 4:00 PM. Ben, my brother-in-law, made it back around 5 PM. By 5:30 PM the tornado was making its destructive path just miles from our location.

The tornado hit Tuscaloosa and traveled northeast along Interstate 59. It was heading directly towards us. We were listening to my dad’s mp3 radio to track its location. When they said it would be here in 5 minutes, we all took shelter in the storage closet located beneath the home’s staircase. Every minute seemed like an hour. We sat together, prayed, and waited to see what was next. Soon afterwards, we looked outside and saw neighbors on the street. They said they watched the storm pass in the distance. It had missed us by one exit! If you look on the map, you will see where Interstate 459 and Interstate 59 meet. My sister and brother-in-law live just off that exit ramp. The monstrous tornado, predicted to probably be an EF5, continued to travel northeast through the southwest portion of downtown Birmingham and all the way to Georgia!

It is by the grace of God we were not hit by this devastating storm. If we were even an hour behind schedule, we would’ve been on the interstate still traveling as the tornado tore through. We are very fortunate today.

My heart aches for those who were affected. It is sickening to see the destruction caused by yesterday’s nightmare. I think the count of injuries is over 600 and hundreds have been killed with most of them happening in Alabama. It’s hard to tell how many more fatalities will be discovered in the days to come.

Thank you for your care and concern. Please continue to pray for all the people who have lost their homes, businesses, and loved ones.

The death and injury count have risen significantly since she wrote this and will continue to do so. I second my sister's plea to continue to pray for the victims of this storm.

Here is a shot of the path of the tornadoes took through Alabama.

1 comment:

Jodie said...

were you able to get my photo? I tried to email it.