• 05-02-2011, 10:44 AM
    pixelthis
    1 Attachment(s)
    Wrath of god stuff, basically
    WENDSDAY morning, 4_27_11, and I am watching with my father as a tornado
    dances through CULLMAN, ALA, and from this slightly elevated view you can see
    power transformers popping like firecrackers. LATER we watch from a tower cam on a
    hill as a dark cloud marches into town, and I watch as a too wide finger touches the ground...
    I know what that is. So after getting dad into the hall closet, covering him with pillows,
    I step out front(I know, stupid) because I am not going to miss this.
    You hear it first, not the sound of a train, more like the sound of a thousand
    trains, and then it peeks from behind a tree, a mile wide grey-black tower, debri
    circling like supplicants worshiping a mad god. IT PASSES, and takes modern
    civilization with it, everything, power, net, cable.
    My dad starts freaking after a while, because we can't find mom. I try calming him,
    thinking I will have to sit on him to keep him at the house. Eventually mom shows up,
    four hours late. NOBODY I know was seriously hurt, and I thank god for that.
    But places I have roamed my entire life, some of them are gone, along with 40
    souls, with another 459 missing, probably all dead.
    Alberta city, FOREST LAKE, Rosedale courts, fifteenth street, Milos, where they were
    having a children's birthday party(still don't know where they are).
    As I drove along HARGROVE ROAD the next day, I couldn't believe it. HARRIED
    PEOPLE , some digging through the rubble, some just sitting around, crying, a
    long line of cars slowly passing through. I make it through to HARDEES downtown,
    and after an hour or so, get some food. It takes an hour to get to my exit three miles away,
    and I ask the good officer guarding it, who checks my ID, "what is that big chunk of metal
    on the side of 359 over there"? HE replies that it "used to be TAMKO," the roofing tile plant.
    SATURDAY, as I watch the birds feed in the back yard, I hear the refrigerator kick on,
    and I run into the living room, the lights are back on, the cable and net followed the next afternoon. NEVER taking those for granted again. And thank god for natural gas water
    heaters, a real shower helps, even if taken by candlelight.
    Going to work twenty four miles away, noticed the power was still out, coming home the
    next morning, after sunrise, I STOP on the side of lock road, and am further amazed.
    THERE is a mile or so wide swath in the forest, ragged tree stumps where the tornado cut
    a path on its way to JEFFERSON county, also destroying a power company work shed
    and transformer farm on the way.
    SEEING a caravan of boom trucks from all over driving down the highway later is an awesome sight, modern civilization is something to be proud of, being a puny human doesn't feel so puny any more.
    Tuscaloosa, PRATT city, CULLMAN, others, several towns got hit, some wiped out
    completely . Some are gone forever.
    So you thank god, not for what he did, because he didn't do this, but you thank him for
    what he spared, Fourty to five hundred are dead, in TUSCALOOSA alone, but it could have been a lot worse.
    THE WEATHERMEN and women get a tad overzealous sometimes, but it would not be an understatement to say that they saved thousands with their warnings.
    THANKS to my friends on this site for your concern, it is appreciated , and thanks to god
    for hearing my prayers and keeping that thing on a straight path. A right turn and it would have killed thousands, including me.
    IT will take years to recover, but we will do so.
    One thing we will never do, however, is forget.
    Like you ever could, when its etched on the faces of the survivors, and carved into
    the very city itself.:1:
  • 05-02-2011, 11:01 AM
    atomicAdam
    WOW pix - that is a pretty dang vivid write up. glad to hear you are ok, and family.
  • 05-02-2011, 11:01 AM
    GMichael
    Sounds horifying. Glad you and yours are OK. My thoughts go out to those who are not.
  • 05-02-2011, 11:08 AM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    Sounds horifying. Glad you and yours are OK. My thoughts go out to those who are not.

    Thanks guys.
    ODD that it wasn't that scary while it was happening, it was only later that it hit home
    as to what actually happened. OF course if it had been moving toward me, well,
    that would have been bad.
    ANYWAY, a mile or so is about as close as I EVER want to get to such a
    beast of nature.:1:
  • 05-02-2011, 11:10 AM
    bobsticks
    Damn.

    I am genuinely glad to read that none of your people were injured and are safe and out of harm's way.

    I had a hard time not commenting too much on threads in this forum and others about the events down south. Frankly, I've found it a borderline zenophobic that folks can get all worked up about something that happens 500-600 miles away from them but nary a peep from many regarding the tragedy in Japan. You get a pass on that judgement my man, and condolences for what must seem like a certain loss of heritage.
  • 05-02-2011, 11:39 AM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Damn.

    I am genuinely glad to read that none of your people were injured and are safe and out of harm's way.

    I had a hard time not commenting too much on threads in this forum and others about the events down south. Frankly, I've found it a borderline zenophobic that folks can get all worked up about something that happens 500-600 miles away from them but nary a peep from many regarding the tragedy in Japan. You get a pass on that judgement my man, and condolences for what must seem like a certain loss of heritage.

    WHAT happened(and is happening) in Japan has touched me, probably a bit more
    than others on this site, because I CAN RELATE.
    We got hit in 75" really bad, and there has been other times. And I have relatives
    in Louisiana , who were affected by KATRINA, and more in Bilioxi, affected by the spill.
    Also, having had extensive training as a police officer, I can tell you that the JAPAN
    we knew is gone , witness Sony getting out of the TV business, which is like Ford
    getting out of the automobile business.
    I have had five Sony TV sets, and I am going to miss them.
    THANKS for your condolences, but heritage is something we in the south will never
    have in short supply.
    THERE is a tiny brick building called the Rotunda on the U of A campus, its claim
    to fame is that its the only building on campus that the yankees didn't burn down
    during the civil war(they did try, however).
    The American "south" is kinda like England, it will always be there, in some capacity,
    at least, hurricanes, tornadoes, and yankees notwithstanding.:1:
  • 05-02-2011, 12:48 PM
    Poultrygeist
    I too can relate having survived Hugo's wrath in Charleston - a humbling experience that caused many of us to move away from the coast.
  • 05-02-2011, 05:08 PM
    3LB
    Sorry to read about all the destruction in the south. My sister and brother-in-law lost their home in '06 to a tornado and now lives in a new home repleat with storm cellar. Theres been a few tornados in west TN (where I'm from) these last few weeks.

    Have they figured out how big the twister was that hit Cullman?
  • 05-02-2011, 05:38 PM
    RoyY51
    I have a great many relatives in the South (mainly Tennessee), and the #1 reason for not moving to California (for most of them) is because we have earthquakes. Earthquakes? Earthquakes don't pick up your house and relocate it to the next county. Earthquakes don't drive straw into concrete block. Earthquakes don't single out trailer parks for mass destruction. For the most part, there's a few seconds of Rockin' and Rollin', then life gets back to normal...the really bad ones are decades apart.

    And yet, my relatives would much rather cope with tornadoes on a yearly basis than move to California where the dreaded Killer Earthquakes live. I blame Hollywood for this injustice. As each earthquake-inspired movie (always centered in California) came out, my "So... how y'all doin'?" calls increased dramatically.

    I guess it's just another case of "Better the Devil You Know".
  • 05-03-2011, 04:54 AM
    Worf101
    Hmmph
    I told em days ago that it'd take more'n a tornady to get you!!! In all seriousness though, I too and pleased that you and yours are alive and well. Stay safe and be well friend.

    Worf

    PS. Great post. You're a good writer when you're not poking folks with sticks!!!! LOL
  • 05-03-2011, 11:35 AM
    Woochifer
    Quite a harrowing journey. Glad to hear you're alright.
  • 05-03-2011, 11:48 AM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RoyY51
    I have a great many relatives in the South (mainly Tennessee), and the #1 reason for not moving to California (for most of them) is because we have earthquakes. Earthquakes? Earthquakes don't pick up your house and relocate it to the next county. Earthquakes don't drive straw into concrete block. Earthquakes don't single out trailer parks for mass destruction. For the most part, there's a few seconds of Rockin' and Rollin', then life gets back to normal...the really bad ones are decades apart.

    And yet, my relatives would much rather cope with tornadoes on a yearly basis than move to California where the dreaded Killer Earthquakes live. I blame Hollywood for this injustice. As each earthquake-inspired movie (always centered in California) came out, my "So... how y'all doin'?" calls increased dramatically.

    I guess it's just another case of "Better the Devil You Know".

    Yeah, it's interesting because I've lived through several earthquakes and seen how transplants overreact whenever we get them. Except for the occasional big ones like Loma Prieta and Northridge, most of the quakes are no worse than a bad night at a dance bar. Friend of mine originally from Alabama lived right near the epicenter of the Northridge quake. The house separated from the foundation, bookshelves toppled over, and the fridge got launched through the kitchen wall. But, the destruction in her neighborhood was nothing like what I'm seeing with these tornadoes.

    And in so many cases around the world (at least those areas with modern building codes), much of the death and destruction caused by earthquakes result more from tsunamis or fires in the aftermath.
  • 05-03-2011, 12:42 PM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Yeah, it's interesting because I've lived through several earthquakes and seen how transplants overreact whenever we get them. Except for the occasional big ones like Loma Prieta and Northridge, most of the quakes are no worse than a bad night at a dance bar. Friend of mine originally from Alabama lived right near the epicenter of the Northridge quake. The house separated from the foundation, bookshelves toppled over, and the fridge got launched through the kitchen wall. But, the destruction in her neighborhood was nothing like what I'm seeing with these tornadoes.

    And in so many cases around the world (at least those areas with modern building codes), much of the death and destruction caused by earthquakes result more from tsunamis or fires in the aftermath.

    TORNADOES (and earthquakes), like women, are all different, depends on which one you get as to how fast you die.
    SOME facts on the one that hit us last week.
    A record number in one day, over three hundred tornadoes over the south. In Tuscaloosa, 40 dead, 326 unaccounted for, five thousand buildings (yes, five thousand) totally destroyed.
    In Tuscaloosa it will take 70 million to just clear the rubble.
    We have tornadoes every year, but its not often you get a supercell explosion of them.
    Like a 9.1 quake, its a rare thing (thank god).
    And a quake can be a civilization killer, witness the death of Japan.
    THE Japanese are a resilient people, but everybodies not saying what everybody knows,
    four to six meltdowns of nuclear cores on a small island,,,well, forget it.
    THREE hundred and twenty tornadoes, a few F4 or higher, hit during the last wave.
    DRIVING twenty miles to work on my regular route for the first time down a small
    highway, and I saw destruction the entire way!
    AND yet, with training and drilling, people knew what to do. Didn't keep 700+ from
    dying, but it could have been a lot worse.
    YEAH, earthquakes and tornadoes do have things in common, but probably more differences.:1:

    cbs42news.com\pictures
  • 05-03-2011, 05:00 PM
    SlumpBuster
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Worf101
    I told em days ago that it'd take more'n a tornady to get you!!! In all seriousness though, I too and pleased that you and yours are alive and well. Stay safe and be well friend.

    Worf

    PS. Great post. You're a good writer when you're not poking folks with sticks!!!! LOL


    I figured Pix would be okay, and hoped that the worst would be taking up a collection of leftover audio gear to get him up and running again. :D :4:
  • 05-04-2011, 12:18 PM
    pixelthis
    1 Attachment(s)
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    I figured Pix would be okay, and hoped that the worst would be taking up a collection of leftover audio gear to get him up and running again. :D :4:

    In order to destroy my gear you'd have to rip me off of it first.
    And I already have leftovers, whats "leftover" after everything else has broken.:1:
  • 05-06-2011, 12:58 PM
    dean_martin
    Glad to hear you're ok, Pix. My son's in T-town. He's staying with friends because his house is uninhabitable right now, but it can be repaired and the insurance company has been good so far in paying for debris removal (and I hope additional living expenses soon). But, he won't come home. He's determined to stay and help. He's in a local band and really into the local music scene. He and one of his friends are organizing a benefit music and art show for the first weekend in June. Stay safe.
  • 05-06-2011, 06:24 PM
    thekid
    Pix

    Glad to hear you made it through. The sheer power and randomness of tornadoes is terrifying. Hopefully you and your neighbors will be able to put your lives together soon though it can never be back to normal after a tragic event on this scale.
  • 05-07-2011, 05:55 PM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Glad to hear you're ok, Pix. My son's in T-town. He's staying with friends because his house is uninhabitable right now, but it can be repaired and the insurance company has been good so far in paying for debris removal (and I hope additional living expenses soon). But, he won't come home. He's determined to stay and help. He's in a local band and really into the local music scene. He and one of his friends are organizing a benefit music and art show for the first weekend in June. Stay safe.

    YOUR son sounds like a decent sort, and I am sure he will be a big help.
    YEAH, 70 million just for debri removal just in T-town alone.
    TWO to five billion in repairs in T-town. We lost eight students from the UA, three
    schools. Glad your son made it okay. STUFF we can replace, people less so.
    THINGS are gradually getting back to normal, the curfew goes off on mon.
    STILL have NATIONAL GUARD humvees all over.:1:
  • 05-07-2011, 06:04 PM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by thekid
    Pix

    Glad to hear you made it through. The sheer power and randomness of tornadoes is terrifying. Hopefully you and your neighbors will be able to put your lives together soon though it can never be back to normal after a tragic event on this scale.

    Aint it the truth.
    I am a "townie", been here my whole life, and the neighborhoods and streets have
    played a huge role in my life. SOME of that ambiance will be gone, but life goes on,
    although different.
    TELL YOU one thing, everytime I flip a lightswitch I thank god, electricity is the
    one basic ingredient in our hobby that we all take for granted sometimes, but after
    four days of a 9 volt radio and a 8.5" DVD player, I AM NOT going to be so blase
    about this modern miracle. ever again.:1: