Monday, May 2, 2011

Shock and Awe Over the Tornadoes

Last week was a busy news week and ended with the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. My husband and I cheered and watched the news until late into the night. My husband lived in Manhattan during 9/11. I was pregnant with our daughter in Tennessee worried sick that he didn't make it. Of course he did! Now, almost ten years later, I am pregnant with our fourth child and my husband is working for the Department of Defense near Washington D.C. It is amazing how life changes in ten years.

The news that kept me up all night was the tornadoes down south. I am originally from Memphis, but spent about 14 years in Chattanooga. My parents live in NE Alabama and I have stayed enough with them to know the areas well. My father is the Branch President for his area. My brother still lives in Chattanooga and is wife's family lives in Ringgold. So the disaster hit me in a personal way.

The night before, the church sent out messages to all of the stake leaders warning them about the storms coming and to prepare and notify the members. That was enough to scare my parents and take this storm seriously. Sure enough the next day the tornadoes began to touch down above anyone's expectations. I saw the videos of the monster twisters and had no words. I had never seen a tornado like that before. I got nervous as the storm headed towards where my parents live. That worry was interrupted by reports that Ringgold, GA got hit. I know that are well. That is usually our stopping point before we go to my parents' house. I knew those restaurants and those gas stations. My brother's step son goes to Ringgold High School and I was shocked to hear that the school was damaged.

The storm went right south of my parents' county and into Georgia where it went around Atlanta. It also went around my county in Northern Virginia and we hardly had rain at all. In fact, I kind of wish it would rain. It is dry here and the pollen is disgusting and we are all getting sick.

No one in my father's branch was hurt or lost their homes. Rainsville was terribly hit and that is in my father's branch boundaries. He visited there for business and the devastation was shocking. Over 30 people dies in Rainsville, AL. My brother's in-laws in Ringgold were also unhurt, but people are still in shock.

Almost everyone lost their power. The members down there helped each other out and shared what resources they could. They shared extra gas, and as the electricity came back on, they even shared generators. I was impressed with how the members of my father's branch worked together and helped each other during a trying time. Many of the members are elderly and needed to be checked on and kept comfortable. They were very lucky that the weather stayed cool and that they weer close enough to the Georgia border to get food and supplies. My parents said that the Super Walmart near them in Georgia was out of bread, batteries, and Dr. Pepper!

Of course the worst was in Southern Alabama, and I hope they will be able to get the help they need to rebuild soon. Those are people of great faith, so I know they will pull through in a positive way. A lot of people are praying for them and are willing to help.

I feel blessed that no storms affected my area and we are safe. We still need to prepare. I realize I have nothing prepared, not even a 72 Hour kit. I need to remedy that real soon. I am glad my family is safe and now comfortable with their electricity back on!

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