The tornado hit Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, April 27; my husband, son and I arrived in town the following Sunday. In the hardest hit areas the roads were still closed to non-residents. The police and national guard were at checkpoints and you had to show your drivers license to enter those areas. I had access to the Holt area because my sister was with me.
My first cousin lived in the Alberta area, which was also devastated by the tornado. I was very concerned about them and could not reach them for several days. I was finally able to get in touch with their son, who told me that they were fine, but their home was gone. I wanted to see them before I left and on Wednesday, one week after the tornado, we were barely able to make our way through the back streets to get to their neighborhood.
We had trouble finding their house due to the mass destruction. All of our usual landmarks were destroyed and street signs were down.
We finally made our way there and this is what we saw:
There is no house at all! It is completely gone! The sand is where the front porch was.
They hid in the closet, but the tornado ripped the walls apart, the door blew in on their niece and the cinder blocks came crashing in on them. They are all fine but a few of them are bruised from the blocks. It truly is a miracle that they survived unharmed! Can you imagine what they must have experienced as that tornado passed over them?
This is an apartment complex, just down the road at the end of the block. It is sad that many people lost their lives in this storm but it could have been so much worse. The mayor of Tuscaloosa said, "I don't know how anyone survived". There are so many miracle stories. I am thankful that my cousin and her family survived and that they have one of those stories to share! They are doing well and have a nice place to live until their home is rebuilt.