Sunday, May 1, 2011

Heartbreak in the Southest

Because one of the major complaints of Americans about the massive overwhelming media frenzy following the royal wedding was that there was a major disaster happening in our country. My personal response to that was, it was getting plenty of media coverage, and must we always only witness depressing news? But in all fairness, I will tell you a story about how the disastrous tornadoes in Alabama have affected me personally.

I live in Oklahoma where tornadoes are extremely frequent. I've seen more than my fair share, and I'm constantly scared to death of them. Scared to the clinical phobia level, with extreme anxiety attacks resulting. Luckily for me, we have had mild weather this year with no tornadoes.

A few years back, just after Chance had gotten into bed I saw on the news that our county was in a tornado warning. Upon closer look, the tornado was about 10 northeast of my house moving south. I screamed for Chance to get out of bed, tossed Archer in his carrier and ran for the car. We don't have a cellar but my sister has a basement. She lives about a mile west of town, and we thought we had time. We weren't 10 blocks from the house before the wind hit. Chance had the steering wheel locked to the right, and we were still getting pushed nearly off the left side of the road. We could see power lines and trees falling behind us due to the wind. I honestly made reckoning that we weren't going to make it. There was no way we could get there alive. By God's grace we made it, and after beating on the door to her house and the wind nearly knocking us off our feet, we made it in. Thankfully our house had no damage, but a tree was blown into the house two doors down and both of our neighbors lost several shingles and have since replaced their roofs.

Even with all of the media coverage of the April 27 tornadoes, I somehow missed that the tiny town of Phil Campbell, AL had been hit by a tornado. Friday my grandpa made his routine call to my aunt. She didn't answer. He thought that was strange, and got worried that maybe the town she lived in (Phil Campbell) may have been hit. He called the police department there and found out that she and her family too, were fine. The house had some damage and they had lost their chicken barn, which was their livelihood.

Because there had been so many storms going through, there were a lot of people in AL without power, and the communication was hindered. I follow my local weathermen on facebook, and one of them basically said this is one of the most dangerous tornado situations they had ever seen and requested that everyone contact their family members and let them know what was happening. I copied his status to mine and posted it for anyone who might have family there, as I didn't have any on facebook. Almost immediately after, a close friend texted me to say thanks for posting, her dad was driving across the state and she hadn't been able to contact him. She messaged me back later to say she was able to contact him, and that he had pulled over and gotten into a shelter. He could see the tornado. If I hadn't copied that status and she hadn't called him, he may not have stopped.

I'm so thankful that his story turned out so well. I'm so thankful for social media sites and quick communication means like text messages. Because of this, at least one life I know may have been saved. I'm certain there were countless others. If you see these things happening, please pass them along, you never know how beneficial it may be.

(Picture of one of the trees that blew down as we drove past. It was a very old, huge tree.)

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Tessa said...

I don't really think it's so much the royal wedding. I just don't think people realize how bad it really is here

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