Warrior, Alabama, April 27, 2011 Tornadoes Cause Mass Blackout

April 27th

My mother called me at 10 A.M. to tell me that a large pecan tree had been uprooted at my grandparent’s old homestead, just five miles away, and she wanted me to go with her to see the damage. She had helped to plant this tree 50 years ago, and I was shocked to hear that this giant tree had fallen.

Arriving at my grandparent’s old homestead at 12 P.M. we discovered that the entire quarter acre of the back yard looked like a jungle. The tree limbs and trunk stretched across the yard, and stuck up past the roof of the house. There were no power lines hanging in the air, they had all been knocked down, the poles supporting them either cracked into pieces or hanging precariously over the road. We passed by a transformer that had been knocked from its pole by a fallen tree, all the wires heaped around it like a giant tangle of Christmas lights. Huge trees and limbs were scattered all over the roads and on houses. The little block I had known since I was a child was mangled and torn, not by a tornado, but by straight-line winds.

At around 3:00 P.M. our power went out as reports of tornadoes being on the ground from the Tennessee line all the way down to Talledega, Alabama besieged our little battery powered radio. It was very difficult to sleep that night.

Warrior, Alabama, April 28th

We ventured out the next morning to survey the damage. Our home in Hayden was untouched, but no power. According to the Alabama Power Company over 700,000 homes were without power and the main reactor had to be shut down. The closest place with power was Centerpoint, so we went there for gas and to stock up on Vienna sausages, potato chips and charcoal for grilling.

We drove to Cullman to survey the damage and discovered that three tornadoes hit the Cullman area and that one of them had passed just 7 miles north of our home, leaving a wide gulf of mangled trees, demolished homes and businesses, and a litter of debris.

Warrior, Alabama, April 29th

At 2:00 P.M., our power came back on. I used this time to call my friends and family to check on them. An hour later our internet was available again, so I used Facebook to locate the rest of my friends. As far as I could tell none of my friends or family were hurt or missing. There were still parts of the city without power. We were asked to go to my sister-in-law’s house to barbeque 10 pounds of meat thawing in her freezer.

As of May 4th, there are still thousands of people without power, and some who no longer have a home. My family were some of the lucky ones.