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Be Prepared
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Discussion Starter #1
so ok by now you guys know of the devastation and have seen the pictures and videos. I just got my internet back on. I have two married sons, two grandkids, everyone was safe in my family but we lost a friend who for whatever reason wouldn't leave her mobile home. The tornado picked up her doublewide trailer and blew it to bits. They found peices everywhere. She was in the bathtub. Fortunately they found her within 12 hours, so at least her family was able to have closure.

We also live in a mobile home. Early that Wednesday morning, tornadoes had ripped through the county in a little town and tore up peoples homes. Someojne got hit with a flying washing machine and a friend's trampoline was up on a telephone pole. We knew the weather was going to get bad again later but we were laughing about the two incidents. (The guys ribs were broken, it's just a strange story).

School let out early and many businesses closed early, thats why there weren't more deaths. James Spann and the other weather men had been warning the day before that it would get very dangerous. People had PLENTY of warning.

We live in a mobile home so as the day got later and the forecasts got worse, we went to a friend's home less than 1/2 mile from here. They have a basement and about 20 people were gathered there. One mistake we made was we left our radio at home, thinking that the people we were visiting had one. We saw the tv of the huge, scary tornado ripping into Tuscaloosa. We saw the lights flashing as the power transformwers were popping, making it look like lightning. then the power went off. Everyhting was still. We live maybe 15 minutes from where the tornado was last spotted. NO RADIO! I coulda shot my husband! Some people had phones that could get info, but it was very scary, not knowing, not being connected. The basement we were in was made into a hill. Some of the basement is even with the ground and you can go out a door right onto the level ground. The further back into the basement you go, you are underground. We had already sent the children into the back room and had bike and motorcycle helmets on as many as we could. We had pillows and blankets and had them on the floor. I imagine the men were trying to look outside, but suddenly they all started saying GET IN THE BACK. People have asked me if I heard it. To be honest all I heard were children and some ladies crying and me praying. I kept waiting for everything to start shaking or something, but it never happened. Everything was still and the men started going out to look. I was so upset to not have our radio! The cell phones weren't working, of course the power was still off. My concern was more tornadoes coming behind that one. Everyone slowly started coming out of the room and the adults told the kids to stay downstairs. Within 10 minutes were heard 4 wheelers and chain saws. There was no damage that we could see but some people walked up to the road and all of the trees were across the road. You couldn't even see the road. It looked like a jungle. People had come out of everywhere with trucks and chain saws. I was trying to call or text people to see if it was over, the cell phone was working intermittingly.

Word of mouth and phone reports started coming in from everywhere saying there were trailers in the road, houses destroyed, people missing, it got worse and worse...I wanted to go see if my trailer was there. the "good ole boys: had been steadily clearing the roads so we decided to try to drive and get through. We had to wait on a backhoe that had appeared out of nowhere and they were moving trees. they scared me to death, there were power lines wrapped around everything. I was so hoping no one was going to get electricuted. The roads were all blocked, we inched our way and by now traffic was thick as everyone had come out to see what was goin on and to try to reach loved ones. We finally pulled over and walked. Our home was still in one peice but there was a lot of damage. All of the underpinning was blown away. The air/heat unit had a tree on it, our very large open ended shed (like a pavillion) was smashed to smithereans and the roof of it was on the neighbors trailer. Trees were on our truck and car. We found out later our roof was damaged. Many people did not fare that well, not even close. I heard from my other children and knew they were safe. The cell phones were ringing like crazy as everyone was trying to contact each other. Reports started coming in about bodies and missing people and all sorts of horrible things. Later that night we heard about our friend's trailer and the search team.

We decided to go home and sleep at our trailer since we found out that the storms were over for us. People were already talking about looters so we wanted to be home. We had a radio and some of the stations were covering nothing but the storm reports. They continued to do so, at first 24 hours a day, then 12 hours a day, now they have backed down to from 10 am to 6pm. Truely they were lifesavers to me. They were our only sourse of information. They had people calling in, making reports, or asking for help. they were connecting people, meeting needs, it was incredible. They used 4 stations with the same show so that they could reach a large audience even into mississippi. Someone from a town called one of the first nights and said they were on their last candle. Someone else from that town called within 5 minutes and offered to take them candles. It was truely remarkable.

Mistakes I made: My husband and I had NO CASH ( I know, I know, stupid) Stores could not take credit or debit bc the power was out. We did not have full tanks of gas. Neighbors were telling us not to go "driving around" to see the damage, to conserve our gas. We found out later that in some parts of Alabama people actually ran out of gas on the interstate bc gas stations couldn't pump.

I think the other stuff we were good on. We had plenty of food. We could have made it for at least a week with no power. We have a camp stove and propane lanterns, flashlights etc. We had enough water, our water didn't shut off but in some places it did and in other places they were twelling people not to drink the water without boiling it first, We had ways to charge our phones and stuff.

I would like to recommend a radio that we had recently purchased. (the opne we left home, lol) It is a Red Cross Emergency Radio. It was $40 at Radio Shack. It gets regular stations and weather too. it can work on triple A batteries, solar or wind up. I think it has a 4th option but I don't know about it. We have listened to that thing day and night.

When I finally was able to see my city ( we are rural in the county) I was shocked. Pictures do not show the devastation. The Red Cross is here. the National Guard is here. They actually have to be stationed in certain places to keep looters out. Samaritans Purse is here. Many. many volunteers are here. My daughter in law is in charge of a local distribution center at a local church. Every church is doing something, organizing, collecting, feeding people, something. The radio stations and facebook have been extremely instrumental in getting needs met.

I am exhausted so I will close this for now.
 

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Wow...simply wow! :eek: glad your family is safe and hopefully back to normal sooner than later. good info about the radio too. Please continue to keep us posted.
 

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Be Prepared
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Discussion Starter #5
I will post pictures later. We have had a new phrase come out of this thing...CHAINSAW HERO! I hear chainsaws day and sometimes at night. Helicopters flying overhead is a constant thing. Seeing the military everywhere. I have so many thoughts I want to add but I am too tired to think. Please excuse the typos, like I said, Im so tired! My youngest son and I have been working 10 hour days in the recovery effort. ( we homeschool) School is almost out so he is getting some hands on life experiences.
 

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wow. glad you made it thru. love to hear how people just got down to work and helping each other out. almost enough to give me a bit of hope for the future.
 

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Thanks for sharing. I echo you on having a radio. I was desperate for information following the '94 earthquake.

I've been lax about gassing up when I hit a half a tank. I'm going to be better about that from here on out.
 

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To the surface!
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Reminds me of living through the Columbus Day storm in Oregon, except that it lasted for hours and I was only 8 years old.

We all moved to the basement of my grandparents house across the road. My uncle kept going upstairs to check on the damage (the house was brick, but the roof did sustain some damage).

Our barn was knocked off its foundation and tilted. We lost the building covering our well (a large building with a windmill on top - it was old, from the late 1800s) and we lost a lot of trees (we had orchards) with some damage to roofs of various buildings - but we were lucky - a lot of people suffered much worse damage. Our local school was shut down for a while.

I remember my dad spending the better part of a day getting into town on the roads blocked by trees, so he could buy a chain saw. We were without power for a while (I don't remember how long - that was almost 50 years ago). I do remember trees being everywhere.




Cyclones are not as intensive, but the damage is more widespread.

A basement or something like it underground is a good thing to have.
 

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I'm so glad you're ok! Many, many prayers for all who are involved. It's going to take a long time to get everything back to normal. :(
 

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Deus exsisto laus
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I am very glad you shared your experiences. Being from Texas, tornadoes are something I consider ofter. I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, and the disruption these storms brought to you and yours. I am glad you all are alright otherwise. You post got me thinking about a "tornado cache". Candles, matches, batteries, a radio or two,ect. Being underground, it could survive if everything else were blown away. Thank you for sharing. TP
 

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Good to see that you made it through, and it's always a good idea to learn from the disaster.

I can't imagine how scary it was. I remember seeing the monster tornatoes on TV and even one website showed them forming from shots from the space station!...
 

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What a harrowing experience. Glad you, your family and home are safe. I've never been in a situation like that....and pray my family and I never are.
Sorry for the loss of your friend....her family is in my prayers, along with you and all those affected by this tradgedy.
 

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The emotional drain can be much more than the physical drain. With the loss of lives, property, income, it takes its toll. It makes a person thankful that the family is alive. I'm glad churches, Red Cross, Samaritans Purse and others are there to help.
Thanks for sharing. It helps us away from that area to hear what has happened first hand. How many lives were lost in your county?
 

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The emotional drain can be much more than the physical drain.
This is so very true, having been in two hurricanes (Camille & Katrina) I can tell you that at some level the fear never really goes away. Most of the people I know around here are permanently "storm-phobic"
 

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I am very glad you shared your experiences. Being from Texas, tornadoes are something I consider ofter. I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, and the disruption these storms brought to you and yours. I am glad you all are alright otherwise. You post got me thinking about a "tornado cache". Candles, matches, batteries, a radio or two,ect. Being underground, it could survive if everything else were blown away. Thank you for sharing. TP
It is just not Texas or the midwest/etc. that have windstorms. While 1962 was kind of a freak thing, we have wind storms every winter that blow down trees. Sometimes they are pretty severe, sometimes not so much, but it is something to consider, especially in coastal regions and where you have tall trees. I lost a very tall tree in my yard a few years back, but fortunately it didn't fall on the house, it fell away from it.

I think in a number of common scenarios, if your land can support it (water table, rocks, etc.), then a basement, storm shelter, or other underground shelter can be a good thing for a lot of preppers, not just those at risk for tornados.
 
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