Tornado Damage Videos from Tennessee and Georgia April 27th Tornadoes

Tornado Damage Videos Showing Aftermath in Areas of Tennessee and Georgia (Following April 27th Tornadoes):

I have created this account as of recently, and have posted several videos from the recent tornado damage that occurred all over the south on April 27, 2011. The tornadoes affected Tucscaloosa, Alabama, almost completely wiping the city off the map. Houses were flattened, some ripped off their foundations completely, many more were damaged, hundreds died, many more were injured, and it was truly a historic event.

Where we live, we didn’t experience any damage, thank God. Literally, thanks be to God that we were all spared and didn’t experience any sort of damage beyond a couple small dents in the car. A couple dents is like a grain of sand on the beach in comparison to losing your car, your home, and possibly even your family. I initially didn’t realize that areas in Mississippi were also hit pretty bad along with some areas in Virginia and I think at least one other state.

I would like to have the experience of seeing the damage in Tuscaloosa first hand but aside from the fact that it would be likely extremely hard to get around there, it’s also a couple hundred miles away. However, there are areas of Tennessee and Georgia that were hit pretty hard that would allow you to see from my own real life experience what the aftermath of a tornado actually looks like. There is a difference in the extent of the damage, yes, but in certain areas part of the difference is the area damaged – a short span versus miles and miles. Even close to here I witnessed foundations – I can’t say they were homes because homes were not there. I witnessed flattened homes.

Given the way brains function, in some ways it’s almost more amazing to see a home that’s merely cracked up the side, giving a “squished” appearance. Not flattened, and not gone, but squished. When you see something that is supposed to be a sturdy built structure capable of keeping its dwellers safe looking squished, it makes you wonder what that must have been like from inside the home. Granted “squished” homes are usually from trees falling but regardless it is awe-inspiring and horrifying at the same time. Driving by you are entranced by the amazing power that it took to do something like that. Entire trees uprooted, lying on their sides. Whole trees snapped in half like toothpicks. Trees lying along a ridge like dead grass that’s been mowed. Having seen pictures of Mt. St. Helens after it erupted, a ridge that I saw looked like that after the lava had poured down – only this was wind.

It is horrifying to think about people being in those homes when the tornado passed over. What would they have been thinking, hearing and perhaps even seeing their house flying away piece by piece in seconds? What about anyone that didn’t have a safe shelter. There were many fatalities that day and I’m sure not all of them were caused by fallen trees. Imagine being in a car, trying to get away and being sucked up in the mighty swirling winds and flung many feet, maybe even some miles, and landing in an unknown spot. I’ve been able to witness vehicles sitting completely upside down. It’s one thing to see a car crushed by a tree or debri, it’s another to see a car completely flung upside down in a random location. You know upon seeing it that this vehicle wasn’t flipped recklessly by an irresponsible driver taking a turn too fast and landing in a ditch. This vehicle was flung and landed upside down – possibly even rolled to end upside down after landing.

When you see a foundation where a home once was, sometimes it doesn’t hit right away. It almost looks like that’s how it always looked (I wasn’t able to see the damage immediately after the tornado, so some of what I’ve witnessed is post-cleanup). But when you see a foundation with only a fireplace still standing, next to a small flight of stairs with a mangled side-rail – you know that was someone’s home. There was a building there. That was the entrance. Those stairs went to a door, a door that now rests up against a tree next to scattered furniture and a large wooden cross. With a cross that large, my only guess is that their whole family could have died from that. That lot had a small parking area which is now roped off and has a posted sign warning people to keep out. And yet across the street from that very spot is another home that has a roof damage but is otherwise OK. It is still very much inhabitable.

It also really hits when you see a foundation with just one or two rooms standing. I passed one house that was partially intact, more than just a foundation, but with no outer walls. You could see inside what was someone’s kitchen. You pass it and you can spot cupboards and a sink area. Another had nothing left but a stairwell still standing. Otherwise it was just a big cement foundation. It is surreal to see and impossible to truly understand unless you’d ever been in it, which I have not.

I made these videos and took the photos originally to capture history and share it with friends and family back home that have only seen tornado damage on TV and in movies and even then likely not much. It is astonishing to see in person, up close. It is shocking and amazing to be driving along past green trees and cozy homes and out of nowhere it turns into a desolate wasteland, trees look like a fire ravaged them. Houses are ripped apart if they are even recognizable as homes. Gas stations reduced to twisted sheets of metal, tangled and strewn all about. If it weren’t for some of the colors and logos that are painted on the metal, you’d have no idea you had passed a gas station.

When I first attempted to see the damage – just to see it first hand – I went out approximately 4am after the tornadoes hit. It was very dark because most the entire area was without electricity. It was a muggy night too, and we had no power at the house so it felt nice to get into the car and at least feel the air conditioning. I drove around to several different areas that we’d frequently traveled, just to see what things looked like. There were a few other cars out that were likely doing the same thing I was. That time on the 28th had an eerie feel and an eerie look about it. Strong winds, tornadoes, lightning, and large hail stones had ravaged the area. Not just once, but in waves. Three times our area was hit with various storm cells, other areas got hit with as many as five.

Much of what I saw was trees uprooted and lying in their respective yards. However, I hit a couple areas in both Tennessee and Ringgold that looked stunning. The road was fine until out of nowhere I encountered a wall of trees with power lines lain about. It obviously wasn’t safe and I didn’t want to risk my vehicle or my life trying to continue so I turned back each time. However, had I had the ability to see the damage that very morning after… It would’ve been even more amazing than even what I’ve already seen. Yet it’s a good thing I wasn’t able to do that, since at that time there were also many undiscovered bodies of people that were crushed or flung and I wouldn’t have been able to handle that.

I hope that the videos give you some real life perspective – not just “stuff on the news” – of the effect. For me, it was a hundred times more impactful to see it live than to see the images being reported. Even seeing Tuscaloosa did not have the same effect as seeing lesser damage in person. Yet now, after seeing additional damage today, over a week after the tornadoes touched down, I can place those images in my head in line with what I’ve seen and when you multiply that by hundreds it is truly mind-boggling.


Posted on May 13, 2011, in Life, Travel, Weather and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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