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Alabama Tornado Disaster.

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BamaBuc

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Last night a series of tornados, including a probable F5, wreaked havoc across north and central Alabama, my home. Fortunately my town was spared everything but some downed trees, but others were not so lucky. Densely inhabited areas of Cullman, Tuscaloosa, and Birmingham were devastated, and at least 190 Alabamians are dead, with others missing and many more left homeless or injured. I have never seen anything like this as long as I've lived here. Restaurants in Tuscaloosa that I've visited recently are completely gone, along with student apartments and businesses. Thankfully the University of Alabama campus was spared, saving many lives (Bryant-Denny Stadium was missed by 250 yards). After Tuscaloosa, the storm passed through western Birmingham, devastating lower-income areas like Pleasant Grove, Concord, and Pratt City. Many homes in these areas are older and less well-constructed than in Tuscaloosa, and that can be seen in how complete the devastation was. Separate tornados struck Cullman and Huntsville, causing more destruction but thankfully not to the same extent. President Obama will be visiting Friday to assess the damage.

Ten must-see videos, compiled by al.com: http://blog.al.com/montgomery/2011/04/must_see_top_ten_alabama_torna.html

The second one is what I was watching live. The third is arguably one of the most stunning amateur tornado videos of all time. They were within a few hundred yards of it as it crossed McFarland Boulevard at University Mall.

Al.com also compiled a photo essay here: http://photos.al.com/alcom_photo_essay/2011/04/alabama_tornadoes_from_april_2.html

The Milo's in the fourth picture is a place I've been before... It's on the road to the University of Alabama and that area is entirely devastated now.

Al.com has additional coverage, photos, and video as well.

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, so please continue to keep our state in your thoughts and prayers. If you want to contribute by donating $10 to the Red Cross relief effort, text REDCROSS to 90999.

-Bama

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I don't think I was ever as worried as I was today about a CNer before. I am glad to see you safe and alive. I heard the death count is still going up. Sad to see the southern states hit again. The oil spill last summer, snowmeggedeon and now this. Not a great last year. Glad to see you're safe, Bama. :wub:

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Thanks Mia, I appreciate it. :wub:

An update... Death count is up to 228. Obama and Governor Bentley toured the damage today. I'll be volunteering to help out tonight and/or tomorrow (they have an email system for volunteers and I don't know how long it'll be til they find somewhere for me to go). Not sure where they'll need me or what I'll be doing.

One of the main things I've heard from Alabamians both in my town and on here is, how do we describe this to anyone who hasn't been through something like this? How do you tell someone what it's like to see a city destroyed live in high definition, knowing that there's a serious chance yours is next? Not knowing whether everyone you know is okay, or what is coming next. We were lucky, but had the wind blown a different way it could have been us.

What's surreal about this all is how localized it is. My town is fine and the skies are blue, and 15 minutes away are places that look like they've been carpet-bombed. The lights here are on and the few fallen trees have been cleared away. The easy thing for us to do would be to go on with our lives like nothing happened, but we haven't. Donation centers have been set up at stores and are being swamped. People are lining up to volunteer any way they can. Churches and community organizations are mobilizing to help out this weekend and beyond. It could have easily been us and I think that knowledge is in all of our minds. We're all in this together.

-Bama

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Good to see another person who made it through safely. I was on campus when the tornado hit and my older brother's house off 15th Street took some serious damage. I'm heading from Hoover back into Tuscaloosa to do everything I can to help.

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Good to see another person who made it through safely. I was on campus when the tornado hit and my older brother's house off 15th Street took some serious damage. I'm heading from Hoover back into Tuscaloosa to do everything I can to help.

Glad to hear you're okay! It was a miracle that the campus was spared... If one of the older, less well-built dorms like Tutwiler or Rose Towers had been hit, a lot more people would have died. Hope your brother's doing all right recovering from losing his house... My friend knows two people who lost everything and are just trying to find clothes to wear and a place to stay.

I'm hearing it's next to impossible to get into Tuscaloosa, they're having looting problems so they've basically locked it down. Since your brother is a resident you'll probably get in okay though. I'll probably be in Pratt City or Pleasant Grove tomorrow, not sure yet. I wanted to go to Tuscaloosa but it's looking like I wouldn't be able to get in even if I went.

-Bama

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Glad to hear you guys survived. I just went through the St.Louis Tornado. It passed within 1/4 mile of me. Slight damage to my roof but other than that all is ok. Just amazing to see whole neighborhoods just gone. I have done nothing since then but work and help clean up.

Be careful during the clean up.

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Good to see another person who made it through safely. I was on campus when the tornado hit and my older brother's house off 15th Street took some serious damage. I'm heading from Hoover back into Tuscaloosa to do everything I can to help.
Glad to hear you're okay! It was a miracle that the campus was spared... If one of the older, less well-built dorms like Tutwiler or Rose Towers had been hit, a lot more people would have died. Hope your brother's doing all right recovering from losing his house... My friend knows two people who lost everything and are just trying to find clothes to wear and a place to stay.I'm hearing it's next to impossible to get into Tuscaloosa, they're having looting problems so they've basically locked it down. Since your brother is a resident you'll probably get in okay though. I'll probably be in Pratt City or Pleasant Grove tomorrow, not sure yet. I wanted to go to Tuscaloosa but it's looking like I wouldn't be able to get in even if I went.-Bama

Some of the neighborhoods are on lockdown unless you can show you have business there and a curfew is being enforced, but other than that the city is open. Traffic on McFarland is terrible, but moving, and almost all the roads are clear. The number of places that already have power restored is amazing and it looks like a lot of the lesser damaged areas around 15th and McFarland are going to be back to normal within the next week or so.

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Auburn was luckily missed and everyone I know in T-town and Cullman turned out to be okay. It was amazing/horrifying to see a storm of that magnitude on live tv and not knowing if its coming for you or not.

The way people around here have been donating has been wonderful. I know they had a blood drive on campus where so many people showed up that they had to turn some away.

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This past Saturday some friends and I volunteered with the supply chain. We went to the Christian Service Mission loading dock in downtown Birmingham, which was basically a scene of controlled chaos. A small group of supervisors were directing a flood of volunteers who were either dropping off goods, sorting goods, or loading them into their vehicles to carry to the affected areas. We loaded a U-Haul and then packed my friend's SUV with bottled water and joined a convoy for Pleasant Grove. Traffic was backed up because the National Guard had a checkpoint set up to keep looters out. Once we got into the city we started seeing damage, downed trees, and scattered debris, but not total destruction. Then we got to the distribution center, and beyond that there was not an intact house or tree in sight. It was unreal. After we dropped off the water, my friend cut his foot on a piece of debris, so we went home instead of staying to help in PG or going back for more supplies.

More than anything I'm just amazed at the sheer amount of people helping out in any way they can. I'm so proud of how the people of this state (and beyond) have responded to this crisis.

Glad to hear you guys survived. I just went through the St.Louis Tornado. It passed within 1/4 mile of me. Slight damage to my roof but other than that all is ok. Just amazing to see whole neighborhoods just gone. I have done nothing since then but work and help clean up. Be careful during the clean up.

Glad you're okay as well.

I'll definitely be careful, and I've learned not to step on pieces of plywood (they have nails in them).

Some of the neighborhoods are on lockdown unless you can show you have business there and a curfew is being enforced, but other than that the city is open. Traffic on McFarland is terrible, but moving, and almost all the roads are clear. The number of places that already have power restored is amazing and it looks like a lot of the lesser damaged areas around 15th and McFarland are going to be back to normal within the next week or so.

Glad you got in okay, and that's great news about the rebuilding.

Auburn was luckily missed and everyone I know in T-town and Cullman turned out to be okay. It was amazing/horrifying to see a storm of that magnitude on live tv and not knowing if its coming for you or not. The way people around here have been donating has been wonderful. I know they had a blood drive on campus where so many people showed up that they had to turn some away.

Yeah, it's amazing how people have come together. Sometimes in this state we act like football rivalries are everything, and I'm glad we've all been able to forget about that and help each other out.

-Bama

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shoals didn't get at all, but we're getting all the people who are left with little to nothing.

Phil Campbell was destroyed along with Hackleburg. Both towns were utterly wiped off the map not a building left standing.

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