April 27, 2011.....7 years later and it still hurts!

Lori

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#1
"Dear God this tornado is still on the ground and a mile wide...people please go underground....don't worry about pictures or video....pray for these people....major damage in Hueytown...."

This is one of many statuses I posted on Facebook that day....

I still get emotional thinking on this day, it's a hopeless and helpless feeling seeing a tornado tearing up a town and knowing people are dying or losing someone...


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JayF

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It was an unreal day. So many communities were affected. It will be a day remembered for some time.
 
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#3
Just seeing the April 27 date on the calendar every year is a bit unnerving. Seven years later and the tornado track/intensity maps and death/damage statistics for the day still look completely outrageously fictional.
 

Lori

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Just seeing the April 27 date on the calendar every year is a bit unnerving. Seven years later and the tornado track/intensity maps and death/damage statistics for the day still look completely outrageously fictional.
It's like a weather horror movie set up!!


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WesL

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The afternoon was anything but quiet but I remember sitting in silence for a few moments while the Cullman tornado marched into the Arab area. Matthew was just as quiet as me and it was unlike any other storm I've chased.

 
#8
I live half a continent away and wasn't interested in severe weather at the time of the 4/27 Super Outbreak. That being said, some of the coverage and archived warnings are horrifying.

One line that sticks with me, although I can't remember what channel it was on, was something along the lines of "You folks in Phil Campbell, you have less than 5 minutes...stop watching this and get below ground immediately". Just my two cents, but in hindsight I think those have got to be the most chilling words in the history of severe weather coverage.

This outbreak was fascinating and horrifying in so many ways...first of all, that there were 15 officially-rated violent tornadoes in one day on the EF scale, while I honestly doubt more than 12 or so tornadoes in the 4/3/74 Super Outbreak would have been rated EF4+ in 2011. Then there's the fact that there were a total of 17 long-tracked tornadoes, and most of the long-tracked tornadoes were also violent.

The part that I think is the most unbelievable of all, though was that twice there were four violent tornadoes on the ground at the same time, and at one point there were five.
 
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7 Years Ago Today, Wow! I was working for FedEx at the time and my route was in Guntersville, where several tornadoes that morning caused massive amounts of damage to the city. Of course we could not deliver that much, so I went back to the Anniston terminal a few hours before the EF-4 tornado ripped through Northern Calhoun County. I got home a few minutes before watching the tornado live on TV rip through Tuscaloosa, then Birmingham.

Of course, it took months before even anything got back to normal. All of North Alabama had no power for days, and I remember seeing lines of cars along US 431 just to get gas in Etowah County. I also remember seeing the National Guard out everywhere. And seeing all the destruction in Calhoun, DeKalb, and Marshall counties was tough.

 
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“That is something significantly wicked on the horizon of Tuscaloosa...” -ABC 33/40’s Jason Simpson as the Tuscaloosa/Birmingham tornado slowly came into view on the skycam and the true direness of the situation realized

I’m from Chelsea (and still lived there at the time). It’s amazing that Shelby County was spared so much of the destruction, just dumb luck.
 

Lori

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“That is something significantly wicked on the horizon of Tuscaloosa...” -ABC 33/40’s Jason Simpson as the Tuscaloosa/Birmingham tornado slowly came into view on the skycam and the true direness of the situation realized

I’m from Chelsea (and still lived there at the time). It’s amazing that Shelby County was spared so much of the destruction, just dumb luck.
I live in Pelham, watching the coverage mere miles west of us, I remember thinking at the time, "we're next" as was my family east of me....it was like waiting to go before a firing squad.
We went to shelter a few times during the warnings for Shelby Co and even though we were mostly underground, I didn't feel we'd survive an EF-5 in that shelter.
I pray we never experience this in our or any other generation.


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#17
I remember feeling so helpless out here in Texas watching it unfold when suddenly I started getting texts and Facebook messages that my hometown Smithville, MS was "gone". My mother, brother and two nephews lived there and I could not get in touch with anyone. I'm watching Tuscaloosa and Birmingham being obliterated on tv when I finally get a message from a good friend that it missed mom's house but my brother and nephew's house was at ground zero and it looked like F4 damage.

Finally, I reach my brother, he like many others was still at work. My nephews had randomly decided to leave the house and drive to the town just south of Smithville and missed the tornado by mere seconds, being shoved off the road into a ditch by the side winds.

Everyone in my brother's neighborhood who was at home and not underground died. If the storm had hit later in the day, there would have been so many more killed. My mother's house was 1/2 mile from the damage path and the power of that tornado shook the ground hard enough to crack the foundation in her home and many in her neighborhood. Although it was not publicized as much as other tornadoes, many experts consider it one of the most intense tornadoes that have been recorded.

My brother never rebuilt and sold his property to the city. Because it was a very large piece of land they built a memorial to the victims of the storm.

The town has never recovered really. It looks like a wasteland when it was covered by so many huge oak, pine and pecan trees.

It turned me from being a weather nut into a weather-obsessed person, researching the web on everything I could find about tornados and forecasting.

It may sound strange but I'm glad that tornado did not hit a more populated place and it happened early in the afternoon. It destroyed and killed but it could have been so much worse.

From Extreme Planet:
https://extremeplanet.me/2012/07/26...the-ef5-smithville-tornado-april-27-2011/amp/

From the NWS:
https://www.weather.gov/meg/apr2011toroutbreaksmithville

From YouTube:
 

Gail

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#18
I remember feeling so helpless out here in Texas watching it unfold when suddenly I started getting texts and Facebook messages that my hometown Smithville, MS was "gone". My mother, brother and two nephews lived there and I could not get in touch with anyone. I'm watching Tuscaloosa and Birmingham being obliterated on tv when I finally get a message from a good friend that it missed mom's house but my brother and nephew's house was at ground zero and it looked like F4 damage.

Finally, I reach my brother, he like many others was still at work. My nephews had randomly decided to leave the house and drive to the town just south of Smithville and missed the tornado by mere seconds, being shoved off the road into a ditch by the side winds.

Everyone in my brother's neighborhood who was at home and not underground died. If the storm had hit later in the day, there would have been so many more killed. My mother's house was 1/2 mile from the damage path and the power of that tornado shook the ground hard enough to crack the foundation in her home and many in her neighborhood. Although it was not publicized as much as other tornadoes, many experts consider it one of the most intense tornadoes that have been recorded.

My brother never rebuilt and sold his property to the city. Because it was a very large piece of land they built a memorial to the victims of the storm.

The town has never recovered really. It looks like a wasteland when it was covered by so many huge oak, pine and pecan trees.

It turned me from being a weather nut into a weather-obsessed person, researching the web on everything I could find about tornados and forecasting.

It may sound strange but I'm glad that tornado did not hit a more populated place and it happened early in the afternoon. It destroyed and killed but it could have been so much worse.

From Extreme Planet:
https://extremeplanet.me/2012/07/26...the-ef5-smithville-tornado-april-27-2011/amp/

From the NWS:
https://www.weather.gov/meg/apr2011toroutbreaksmithville

From YouTube:
I live just north of Columbus AFB so I live between Smithville and Philadelphia (two of the four F5s that day). I know the town well, and it's heartbreaking seeing the damage. My sons have played football for 10 years so we always played the Smithville peewee teams when they had one. You're right - it still hasn't fully recovered all these years later. That was an absolutely terrifying and tragic day. I'm sorry for your family's neighbors, but I'm glad they were okay!
 
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Sad news to report. Marty Broman, who worked many years at WZYP FM in Huntsville and Cumulus Media and was instrumental in getting the word out about the tornadoes on 4/27/11 both during and after the storm, passed away Monday evening from cancer.

 

WesL

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Sad news to report. Marty Broman, who worked many years at WZYP FM in Huntsville and Cumulus Media and was instrumental in getting the word out about the tornadoes on 4/27/11 both during and after the storm, passed away Monday evening from cancer.

No way! Marty was a great guy and amazing ability to paint a picture for a listener. Now-a-days most of the stations simulcast a tv station during weather events and that isn't exactly the ideal situation for thousands of people who can't see what they are pointing at. Marty was always calm on the air and gave precise locations of storms and wasn't afraid to break in as needed. He will be greatly missed in N. Alabama.
 

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