Alabama and Mississippi have had an emotional couple of weeks to say the least. Tornadoes of epic proportions ripped through the South at the end of April and destroyed most everything in their paths. I’ve heard of towns that have nothing left but 1 business, entire communities gone forever, and too many people to count that have been injured or killed by the fury of the storm.
Wednesday, April 27, was a strange day in Birmingham. You could feel the storm brewing all day long. I’ve never seen wind blow at the same speed for 5 hours straight. But I saw it happen on that day, leading up to one of the largest tornados this state has ever seen. You literally could feel it coming.
As a girl who has seen much severe weather during her day, I can promise you that it’s rare that a storm can be predicted in the way that this one was. My sister, the new college graduate and future meteorologist for Terra Haute, Indiana, explained it in more scientific terms than I am able to remember or repeat accurately, but essentially, everything lined up to create “the perfect storm.” I called her before it hit, and she said something like “this storm system has the potential to be as large as it wants to be.” You don’t hear meteorologists say things like that often.
It definitely grew into a monster and created more devastation than I have ever witnessed before in my life. It wasn’t just one area that looked as if it had been bombed—the damage just kept going and going.
We were blessed. We didn’t lose anyone or have damage to our home, other than a couple of shingles that blew off the roof. But it could have just as easily been us. And now it’s time to help those who have been affected. There is much to be done, and the relief efforts that started two weeks ago will need to be maintained for a very long time. The damage was extensive, but people are coming together to take care of others.
My agency, Holland+Holland Advertising, took a day off from work and headed to Tuscaloosa to pitch in last week. As we drove around and looked at everything, I was overwhelmed with just how much work there is to be done. The exciting thing is that there are many ways to get involved, and I have been so impressed by the assertiveness of Alabamaians. My boss, @she-conomy, has been particularly impressed by Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa, a group that has used social media to speed the efforts and to reach the masses more effectively. Go check them out.
Doree, a local store in Homewood, is selling necklaces where 100% of the proceeds will go to tornado relief. Sweet home Alabama. Pre-order yours now.
My heart is heavy as I think of my friend who lost his grandmother, the devastated town of Smithville, MS where I played softball in the summertime as a girl, and the many stories that have surfaced over the last couple of weeks from both of these states that I love. My prayers are with all of those affected—I pray that the Lord would overwhelm them with peace and hope and that the church, the hands and feet of God, would serve tirelessly.