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Parts of Tuscaloosa ‘have been obliterated’ by massive storm

Tuscaloosa Tornado IV

Forget about the whole rise in the intensity/insanity level of the Alabama-Auburn football rivalry; the state of Alabama has a whole helluva lot more important things on the hearts and minds of its citizens Wednesday evening.

For those unaware, the state has been pounded by a massive storm system that has produced dozens of tornadoes and, according to the early reports, the damage has been devastating.  In particular, the city of Tuscaloosa — and home of the University of Alabama — has been hit by what could only be called a storm of epic proportions.

Tuscaloosa’s mayor, Walter Maddox, appeared on The Weather Channel shortly after the storm plowed through his city, and said that the “devastation is ‘catastrophic’ and parts of city ‘have been obliterated’.”  Maddox added “please pray for us.”

On his Twitter feed, Aaron Suttles, Senior Recruiting Analyst for the Alabama Rivals site,, wrote that “I don’t mean to overstate, but it looks like bombs went off. Nothing left standing. Complete rubble. Cars upside down and caved in.”

Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News wrote on his Twitter feed simply: “Scale of destruction in Tuscaloosa is very bad.”

Based on the early reports, the loss of property will be massive.  What’s uncertain at this point in time is what cost, if any, there will be in terms of lives lost, although initial reports indicate that there was one fatality caused by the storm.  The photos and the video shot on the scene, though, paint a sobering picture of it taking a miracle for there not to be many, many more:

It appears — and not that it even remotely matters in the grand scheme of things — that Bryant-Denny Stadium suffered no damage due to the storm, but videos that have emerged in the aftermath show the powerful tornado that apparently caused the devastation in the city passing in the background of the football home of the Tide.  For a high-quality video of that event, click HERE.  Click on the rain-blurred clip below for additional footage of the tornado passing behind the stadium.

Needless to say, our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Tuscaloosa and all the others across the South who have been impacted by this devastating series of storms.

UPDATED 10:44 p.m. ET: Heartbreakingly, Mayor Maddox, by way of the Tuscaloosa News, has confirmed that at least 15 people have been killed in his city as a result of the tornado.  All told, at least 31 people in the state of Alabama have lost their lives.

As for the university and its campus, the News writes that “power outages at the school are widespread, but they have no reports of structural damage to buildings on campus after a storm swept through the city.”

Additionally, the same storm system that tore through Alabama is wreaking havoc in parts of Georgia and Tennessee.  Fatalities are also being reported in those states as well.

Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.

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68 Responses to “Parts of Tuscaloosa ‘have been obliterated’ by massive storm”
  1. cometkazie says: Apr 27, 2011 9:23 PM

    Any idea what parts of Tuscaloosa were hit? Looks as if between the stadium and I-20.

  2. ihatedallasandauburn says: Apr 27, 2011 9:27 PM

    It went right by the stadium and brushed the hospital on University blvd , it wrecked the campus east of the stadium

  3. rolltide510 says: Apr 27, 2011 9:35 PM

    It went down 15th street from what I understand. A lot of the mall area destroyed, but a friend’s house who lives basically on the corner of 15th is fine, thankfully.

  4. Deb says: Apr 27, 2011 9:55 PM

    Am so thankful I was blissfully unaware of this until my brother called to tell us the family is safe. Just praying now all our friends are safe as well. A tree had demolished the house of one of their friends near campus. He’s okay but rescuers were still trying to get him out. Other than that, we’re still waiting to hear. Thoughts and prayers with everyone there.

  5. gorilladunk says: Apr 27, 2011 10:01 PM

    My wife chose a helluva week to go to Birmingham on a business trip. Hope she can get on her returning flight Thur. morn. Living in “tornado alley”, I see this sort of stuff all too regularly, but it never ceases to amaze. Hope the loss of life is minimal and the damage can be quickly repaired but based on early pics and reports, this may take a while to put things back together.

  6. nitaq says: Apr 27, 2011 10:07 PM

    Does anyone know if Hillcrest or the neighborhoods in that area were affected?

  7. southernpatriots says: Apr 27, 2011 11:16 PM

    Deb had requested prayer for her loved ones a few days ago, and I find myself praying alot nowadays since I can do very little to change situations for my family and others within myself. Apparently, at the time of the storms hitting Tuscaloosa I was praying for Deb’s family, their well being and safety, and the name Tuscaloosa came to me. I only heard hours later about the storms. This is something to me. I remain in a shock, somewhat.

    I hope and pray the folks are okay and like gorilladunk that the devastation may be repaired quickly…the pictures are…whew!

  8. southernpatriots says: Apr 27, 2011 11:24 PM

    We just telephoned friends we have in the area and their home phone is out and their cell phone is also not receiving, maybe the cell tower is out (similar to what happened in South Louisiana after Katrina and Rita)…we don’t know how they are. We will keep trying to reach them and our thoughts and prayers are with them and all the people of Alabama. I will be up all night praying, it looks like.

  9. cometkazie says: Apr 27, 2011 11:30 PM

    Try texting them via cell phones. After Katrina and Gustav, so many land lines were out, the cell system was jammed up, but text messages went thru as they don’t go in real time but can be delayed for available space. I was texting a friend here in BR from where we evacuated to in N Alabama and every msg went thru, both ways but regular calls were busy.

    Good luck and I hope your friends are OK.

  10. polegojim says: Apr 28, 2011 12:30 AM

    These are the times we see what we’re made of.

    After Katrina, our family and friends invested incredible amounts of money and time in the area helping to rebuild homes and churches, while feeding and shepherding familes. I couldn’t have been more proud. Wish we could do more.

    Strengthen, Support, Courage, Care.

    Hope we’ll all do our part with true fellow-feeling.

  11. southernpatriots says: Apr 28, 2011 4:22 AM

    cometkazie: Thank you! I would have never thought of that. I have done it but no response yet. Still waiting and praying. This looks like bombs went off, complete devastation. A news crew from Birmingham said they would check the address of our friends and let us know. The waiting is really tough. Help them Lord!

    Polegojim: You are so right! Our brother headed a group of fishermen who provided rescues in the 9th Ward and all around South Louisiana. Our brother who is flat on his back now in a hospital unable to help anyone. He would want to be involved in helping here. Our home and everyone’s home we knew were rescue centers.

  12. southernpatriots says: Apr 28, 2011 7:13 AM

    Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s office says that the death toll from storms and tornadoes in the state has risen to 128. The devastation in Tuscaloosa and other areas looks like a war zone where bombs were dropped. Georgia Gov’s office is also reporting great damage in norther Georgia.

    Please pray for those affected, and especially for the families of those who were killed and injured. May those who can go and help, please go. We wish we were as we were after Katrina & Rita but we are not physically able at this time. We will keep all those affected and all those bringing relief in our thoughts and prayers.

  13. jw731 says: Apr 28, 2011 8:44 AM

    From the pictures i have seen here, and on news sites, it’s hard to believe the destruction. Incredible. I’m not a religous man, so my prayers are meaningless, but i am a human being, and i hope the people trying to find relatives or friends, get in touch with their loved ones. People just living their daily lives, having to endure such trauma, is incredibly grounding. I truly wish the best for those affected…

  14. Deb says: Apr 28, 2011 10:18 AM

    It’s just unreal that there’s so much hate for me on this Web site that five people gave me thumbs down because my brother and his wife and their children, ages 8 and 9, survived those storms. We discovered last night they hit another town and it’s been long hours trying to reach our family there, which we were only able to do about an hour ago. Thank God our loved ones are safe but many others aren’t. There are some very sick children with some very sick priorities on this site. Hell is waiting.

  15. osuer says: Apr 28, 2011 10:40 AM

    Please know that our entire family is holding all you in thought and prayer during this very difficult time. We are so very sorry for this tragedy and you will be on our minds as we go about our everyday lives, here in the Buckeye nation. Please take care of yourselves and know that we send all our sympathies to everyone effected by this horrible event. Much love and many prayers!

  16. Deb says: Apr 28, 2011 10:42 AM

    @southernpatriots …

    Thank you so much for your prayers. I was praying for your family as well, knowing they are scattered all over the South. We’ve said so many times this morning what a blessing it was to have heard from my brother so quickly. I saw reports that a storm system was expected to go through Alabama yesterday and had been praying all day, but I’d been tied up with work and hadn’t watched any news reports. A friend of my mother’s had called to tell her of the reports and she’d just hung up the phone when my brother called. Can’t imagine seeing that footage and being unable to reach them.

    Our other family members are without power and water, but safe. However, we know one from my brother’s church is missing, and a friend of my cousin’s in another town has been killed. And so many have lost everything. It’s heartbreaking.

  17. southernpatriots says: Apr 28, 2011 10:57 AM

    kometkazie: Thank you again for your kindness and invaluable information. Two family members and one friend did text me back stating they were well. Our friend’s home and business were destroyed but all the family, including 5 children and two dogs, were safe, having traveled earlier that evening to Birmingham for dinner. Whew! That was an advantage to eating out! Our family members said their neighbors houses were destroyed and their cars landed sideways on their front lawn, barely missing their house where they were huddled in the bathroom. All said it was the most terrifying experience they ever had.

    Deb: We do have several family members in north Georgia which have not responded to our text or email yet. We hope they are just busy. Devastation there as well. Their church fellowship hall in north GA was obliterated and became match sticks, according to the local sheriff’s department. It is hard to get any information from that area, even as of now.

    We keep praying for them and for all.

  18. jw731 says: Apr 28, 2011 11:32 AM

    So deb……Your family is in the midst of a disaster of epic proportions…and most here have offered prayers and concern…..but you are worried about 5 thumbs down on a website for a comment you made?…… for real?……and you expect then to take you seriously…..why the hell would it matter?…You simply want attention, it’s has become apparent…….sad

  19. lakesidegator says: Apr 28, 2011 11:43 AM

    Did Nick Saban make it?
    Oh, he did?

    Then, never mind.

  20. Deb says: Apr 28, 2011 12:12 PM

    @jw731 …

    When I finally learned all my family was safe, I came onto the Web site, found people indicating regret that my immediate family had survived, and posted a knee-jerk reaction. Your judgment of me and my motives is idiotic and irrelevant.

  21. sprizzle2182 says: Apr 28, 2011 12:26 PM

    I am so grateful my family is safe, but my heart is breaking for Tuscaloosa and the entire state of Alabama. I wish I could be there to do something, but I am def going to donate. Please everyone find it in your hearts to do something. We have to be there for our fellow BAMA fans and those who are suffering from this terrible disaster.

  22. centexhorn says: Apr 28, 2011 12:39 PM

    My deepest sympathies go out to all the victims. They’re saying 249 killed now. Very, very sad.

  23. polegojim says: Apr 28, 2011 12:42 PM

    @ Deb –

    1) Glad and relieved to hear about your family!

    2 ) Those who matter… like you and enjoy your participation, even when we disagree… Honey.

    You’re just too good at winning your arguments from some of the less mature.

    Keep up the good work – ‘Woe when all men (and women) speak well of you.’

  24. Deb says: Apr 28, 2011 1:21 PM

    @polegojim …

    Thank you so much. Really needed that today :) The majority here and on PFT are supportive and the rest don’t matter.

    Does anyone know the condition of downtown Tuscaloosa? Was able to exchange a brief e-mail with my brother hours ago but he was still stuck in his neighborhood. The mayor said on TV the police station, fire station, and entire fleet of garbage trucks were destroyed–which will make rescue, recovery, and cleanup so much more difficult. Just heard most of the campus was spared, but some of the housing near campus was hit.

  25. Deb says: Apr 28, 2011 2:15 PM

    My brother just called. Downtown Tuscaloosa was spared. A student apartment complex near campus was leveled. His friend there is still missing, and they’ve shifted from rescue to recovery. Prayers and deepest sympathy to all those suffering such devastating losses.

  26. southernpatriots says: Apr 28, 2011 6:48 PM

    Family members in northern Georgia just called from Atlanta. All are well, but not everyone in their neighborhood. There are numerous injuries, some very serious and at least 2 dead. Also some dead in nearby areas with devastation similar to some parts of Tuscaloosa. It is hard to digest all this.

    So far, all family members are accounted for and are all safe, though some lost cars, buildings, etc. and devastation was all around them. They could not get out to call since the storm because of so many trees down, cars overturned on the roads, building debris strewn everywhere, etc.

    Our hearts and prayers are with all who experienced this terrible storm or whose loved ones did.

  27. bamaqt says: Apr 28, 2011 7:02 PM

    for those who want to know the area hit a guy from one of the BAMA boards posted this.,-87.528763&spn=0.064352,0.122738&t=h&z=13

    and if you want to see an aerial of the path of destruction here you go: NOTE: it is hard to watch.

    A point of reference is the apts that is shaped like a square with the quad in the middle is on 27th street and 10 avenue

  28. southernpatriots says: Apr 28, 2011 7:11 PM

    bamaqt: Thank you. This video brought tears to my eyes and left my mouth wide open. I have shown it to everyone who visits us and all my local family (not in the hospital). The widespread devastation just takes your breath away.

  29. cometkazie says: Apr 28, 2011 7:18 PM

    Thanks for the video and the map of the track.

    The web of this thing is wide. The daughter of a friend of a friend, a student at the university, was killed in it.

    I’ve stayed a dozen times at the LaQuinta, corner McFarland and I-20. It wasn’t far from that.

    Thanks for keeping us posted. This is a good means of communication.

  30. bamaqt says: Apr 28, 2011 7:40 PM

    No problem. I have been glued to the bama board and all sites that are posting… My spirit is despondent. I lost my home in the southern califoria wildfires,except for the loss of a loved one I KNOW what these people are going thru. Love my Alma Mater. A very very Special Place.

  31. bamaqt says: Apr 28, 2011 7:44 PM

    I am so sorry cometkazie. I am hearing that they are just putting the bodies in the body bags and stacking them at the Veteran Memorial Hospital. A house near campus had 8 students.. all gone.. When this is all said and done the fatalty numbers will be staggering. they are holding back on reporting this for now.

  32. southernpatriots says: Apr 28, 2011 8:18 PM

    bamaqt: Our relatives in the area tell us that they heard the same thing. They heard that these tragic totals are being held back to avoid a panic until they identify everyone and notify next of kin. With the emergency personnel (firemen, EMS, etc. station houses, etc.) also devastated it may take much more national guard than the governor is sending.

    May God strengthen all those who are responding and helping those hurt and devastated by these tornadoes.

  33. cometkazie says: Apr 28, 2011 8:49 PM

    After Katrina, they activated NG located away from the devastated areas, which in this case would be South Alabama.

  34. Deb says: Apr 28, 2011 8:55 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    I am so thankful to know you’ve heard from your family and they are okay. Yes, like you and bamaqt, we’re hearing terrible news. My brother just keeps saying that it’s very very bad. His friend was an out-of-state student who attended their church. He was on the phone with a friend when it hit, so they knew he was home. His apartment complex was obliterated. When no one was able to get through by phone, my sis-in-law went over and talked to the police. They told her he was on the list of missing and presumed dead. I cannot imagine sending your child away to school and having such a devastating tragedy occur.

    And two water towers were destroyed, so many are without water as well as electricity. Now that it’s dark, heaven knows what people are doing. I pray there are enough shelters to house those left homeless tonight.

  35. Deb says: Apr 28, 2011 10:57 PM

    So sorry you’re disappointed that southernpatriots’ family and mine are still alive and that you’re happy people have died and are without water and homes. Be careful. You reap what you sow, little boys. Your hate will catch up with you … if not in this life, then in the next. Have a good night.

  36. southernpatriots says: Apr 29, 2011 7:06 AM

    Perhaps our intimate involvement and participation with the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in south Louisiana makes us especially sensitive to the devastation experienced by the wonderful people of Tuscaloosa, north Georgia and throughout the South as this storm and its many huge tornadoes obliterated communities.

    But please we would appeal to the humanity of the posters, please do not discourage or disparage those whose families and friends and the great outpouring of love and compassion to those affected. This is truly a time, we as Americans need to come together, college football fans need to come together. It is no longer the normal rivalries (friends in Auburn are telling us they are trying to see how they may start a “Tigers for Tuscaloosa” fund raising effort.

    Rescue and clean up teams are being organized from Texas and yes, praise the Lord, from Ohio, and other places. They do not want to be insensitive, so they are going through the local mayor and local officials and are standing by to respond when they are invited.

    Due to our many health issues, we are unable to respond as we did with Katrina and Rita and others, but we are praying for and supporting all those who do.

  37. Deb says: Apr 29, 2011 11:10 AM

    southernpatriots, I honestly don’t think that evil has been coming from Auburn but from other regions–and it’s not representative of the people there. It’s just petty immaturity–and I know better than to react. But I received word from my brother last night that his friend’s body was found. He was an Alabama student who had been very kind to my niece and nephew, and they are devastated. My brother went by his old neighborhood where we spent many happy times and the children still go trick-or-treating. Many of the homes are gone and the development across the street was wiped out. The enormity of the tragedy is still sinking in. As you said, all we can do from this distance is pray and support the Red Cross.

  38. southernpatriots says: Apr 29, 2011 11:35 AM

    Deb: We agree. Or at least we hope that none of the negatives are coming from Auburn fans, we don’t think they are anyway because the ones we know are very compassionate and sensitive and are really affected by all this devastation in Tuscaloosa and around the South.

    It truly is awful to hear about the friend of your brother. Entire communities seem to have disappeared, street after street, house after house, business after business. It looks like bombs went off or similar to after Katrina in south Louisiana and Mississippi. We were so active and intimately involved in the rescues and relief then. I can’t look at at the video in this blog or on the news without crying for the people. We are praying.

  39. bamaqt says: Apr 29, 2011 12:53 PM

    Fans of two schools have come out to help Tuscaloosa in this time of need.

    1. Penn State Students. Being from Western Pa makes me proud. Truly a Class Act. here is their website

    2. And the other is “Toomers for Tuscaloosa” they have a page on facebook. Another Class Act.

    3. Blue Tuna (LSU FAN) GOD BLESS HIM… has listed links on his website to help the victims.

    So I would rather accentuate the ‘positive’ and elimate the ‘negative’ and show that the other schools are class acts. There will always be this small nucleus of ‘negative’ unhappy people always ready to hate. So why fuel it? Why give them them the limelight? This is a time to unite and help our fellow man. Life can change on a dime. It did for me in the Calif. wildfires of nov 2008. It did for my fellow Tuscaloosians and throughout the south on April 28. It can happen to anyone out there. Okay, I am done. Thanks for all the schools that has extended their helping hand before anyone has asked. Your good deeds won’t go unoticed.

  40. Deb says: Apr 29, 2011 1:11 PM

    @bamaqt …

    You’re absolutely right, and thanks for the reminder. I’ve been bouncing off walls like a pinball and not thinking that clearly, so it helps to have someone keep me on track. As a Steelers diehard, I’m thrilled to hear about the efforts of Penn State students. And after supporting Tide for Toomers, it’s heartwarming to hear that support is being reciprocated. I have dear friends who are Auburn grads.

    @southernpatriots …

    My brother just called. The body of the young man believed to be his friend was misidentified. His friend is still missing, and he is going to join in the search, which I hate for him. My sis-in-law, niece, and nephew are volunteering at a homeless shelter. They now expect the death toll to exceed 300.

  41. Deb says: Apr 29, 2011 2:08 PM

    @bamaqt …

    It’s a small thing compared with the loss of life, but means a lot as a Bama landmark. My brother heard the original Dreamland was lost but couldn’t confirm. I haven’t found anything in the news. Have you heard?

  42. bamaqt says: Apr 29, 2011 2:14 PM

    It is fine.

    I have been wondering about “Nick’s in the Sticks” though.

  43. Deb says: Apr 29, 2011 4:55 PM

    @bamaqt …

    Oh, thank you! That will be a relief. My sis-in-law grew up there and has known the Dreamland folks forever. Asked my brother about Nick’s and it’s fine. The storm didn’t go that way. And it missed the Waysider by about a mile. Funny how you think of these familiar restaurants. Did you know Milo’s burger joint? I never ate there but drove by all the time. It’s gone. He also mentioned that the Holt area was hit pretty bad.

  44. southernpatriots says: Apr 29, 2011 8:55 PM

    There are several volunteer groups from Central and South Louisiana which are mobilizing to go to Tuscaloosa and the surrounding areas to help. Several others are going to northern Georgia. We are sure there will be other groups and volunteers going from many different areas. May God bless all those who are going to offer assistance in clean up and then later in rebuilding.

  45. bamaqt says: Apr 30, 2011 4:06 AM

    if you want to keep up with the everything there is a bama board (one of many) that everyone is posting updates and links and just to post their condolescences. it is and keep up with the blog

    you have to sign up for to view the boards, but it is worth it.. great overall site.

    Tuscaloosa will never be the same. Brian Williams(NBC) is in Tuscaloosa and he said the tornado changed the landscape of T-Town. I heard Jim Catore of the weather channel say that this is Katrina “inland”
    Gives you a sense of the size of this destruction.

  46. southernpatriots says: Apr 30, 2011 5:27 AM

    bamaqt & all: When we see the photos it reminds us so much of Katrina because we were at and in Katrina and intimately involved in the rescues and reliefs in N.O., Abbeville, Plaquemines Parish, Biloxi, Pass Christian, etc. MS, and all along the coastal areas. To this day, much of the Ninth Ward is a ghost town as are so many other parts of the affected areas.

    Katrina appears to perhaps have changed many areas of the Gulf Coast permanently. Sadly, this may have happened to Tuscaloosa, Ringgold, and other areas throughout the South. Our heart hurts for those affected, those who lost loved ones, those who are injured, and those who lost their homes, their businesses, their places of employment…our prayers remain with all.

  47. southernpatriots says: Apr 30, 2011 5:58 AM

    Deb: Has your brother received any further word on his missing friend?

    This is so reminiscent of Katrina. So many friends missing, so much area devastated. Even now, many areas have not been rebuilt. Our homes became rescue and homeless shelters and people scattered and have not moved back. The memories are so horrible for some that they cannot even return to see the areas again.

  48. alligatorsnapper says: Apr 30, 2011 8:39 AM

    My family and I are joining a group from our church to go to Tuscaloosa and nearby areas to provide assistance. I have not seen this much destruction since Katrina! Our church is also in contact with churches in northwest Georgia to see what we can do to help the people there as well. We heard on Fox News this morning that 339 or more are dead and some remain missing! My God! This is horrible! We encourage everyone to help in any way you can! Like the good folks at southernpatriots who helped us with the great tailgating at the LSU spring game, and in solidarity with all others posting, our hearts and prayers are with all those who have suffered a loss.

  49. Deb says: Apr 30, 2011 10:32 AM

    @southernpatriots …

    No, they still haven’t found his body. His parents arrived from out of state yesterday morning, which is probably how they discovered the other body had been misidentified. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. When they were announcing 35 or so confirmed dead in Tuscaloosa, my brother said they already had nearly 170 bodies but were holding announcements pending notification of families. Just heard on the news it’s believe hundreds more are buried in the rubble throughout the state.

    Until it was mentioned on a news report last night, I hadn’t thought about all the people left jobless by this storm. God bless them.

    Thank you for the info, bamaqt. And thank you to alligatorsnapper and all those going to help. Our prayers go with you.

  50. southernpatriots says: May 2, 2011 9:14 AM

    Deb: Our hearts hurt for your brother and your niece and nephew, and the parents, relatives and friends of your brother’s friend. We send our deepest condolences.

    Just a brief note: Several groups from central and South Louisiana are departing this morning. Others will be departing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    Please give to Red Cross or your local church or community group which is offering relief and assistance to the many who have been devastated by these tornadoes and storm. Let us all pull together America and the college football community to help those who most need our help during this time.

    Thank you. God bless you.

  51. Deb says: May 2, 2011 10:20 AM

    @southernpatriots …

    Thank you so much for your prayers. Exchanged messages with my brother late last night, and the death toll will be higher than the 300 he first imagined. He said all there are frustrated by continuing news reports putting the death toll near 50 when hundreds of bodies already have been recovered. When helping distribute food in one area, he saw a single house marked by recovery workers as having contained 10 bodies. The recovery workers have told him now the actual death toll may be 500. God bless those workers as they go about such a terrible task.

  52. southernpatriots says: May 2, 2011 12:05 PM

    The extreme horror of the results of the tornadoes and storms are overwhelming. Our volunteers were told they would have to wear masks and gloves, so we obtained some before they left just in case they would not have enough on hand in some areas in AL. This may not be rated as the second worst tornado in U.S. history before all are accounted for.

    I can’t type any more, please forgive me I have to go now. It is overwhelming.

  53. Deb says: May 2, 2011 2:39 PM

    Was watching something on the news about the 9/11 responders and wondered about masks and gloves. Now that his friend has been recovered, my brother & family are devoting all efforts to distributing food in the hard-hit areas. The children are helping, too. They’ve accompanied their parents when volunteering at a local soup kitchen since toddlers and wanted to help. But then he takes them back to stay with other friends and have some sort of normalcy while he and my sis-in-law continue their efforts because it is so overwhelming.

  54. southernpatriots says: May 2, 2011 2:52 PM

    Deb: That is wonderful that your brother’s family are working so with those who are without homes, jobs, and loved ones in this time of emergency crisis. God bless them and strengthen them.

    We received a telephone call earlier today from some folks with law enforcement who told us that they will be sending 120 specially trained personnel to Alabama to assist with the efforts there. God bless my state. We know what it is to experience devastation and thus are perhaps a little more sensitive to others when they experience similar horror.

    It is so very hard to deal with this situation after we were so intimately involved in Katrina. My brother spearheaded some of the rescue and relief and some of his health problems today are thought to be as a result of his exposure at that time to many unknown chemicals in the waters of south Louisiana.

  55. Deb says: May 2, 2011 4:05 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    God bless your brother. Keeping him and your sister in prayer. First responders to the World Trade Center have endured so many health issues because of chemical exposure. And have thought so many times that as terrible as this is, at least the people don’t have to deal with the flooding and standing water Katrina left in its wake, which killed so many and created such health hazards. This must bring back terrible memories. I spent several years working in a guerilla combat zone and some of the footage reminds me of bomb damage. But there really is no comparison to what nature can do in seconds and over so wide a path. Sad to say, but when you’re in an area like that, occasional bombs are part of life. The suddenness and unexpectedness of tornadoes is what’s so hard to grasp.

  56. cometkazie says: May 2, 2011 4:24 PM

    Off topic but I haven’t been able to connect with ProFootballTalks since yesterday.

    Anyone else have the problem?

  57. southernpatriots says: May 2, 2011 5:00 PM

    Deb: Over several months our brother was standing in waters saturated with chemicals. Later testing was done on some waters and they found: xylene, toluene, jet fuel, chlorine, and a huge number of industrial toxins to numerous list and about 40 chemicals and compounds they never identified. He helped to rescue many people who would have perished otherwise but since he has has precarious health and my sister’s situation has pushed him from home to the hospital (at least that is what I think).

    It is hard to think about the devastation of Tuscaloosa and so many much smaller communities and towns throughout the South, without having “flashbacks” about Katrina. It so heartens us that Louisiana is sending volunteers from churches and civic groups as well as well trained police and law enforcement personnel. We definitely have some experience with horrid calamities.

    We pray for all daily and nightly.

  58. Deb says: May 2, 2011 5:36 PM

    @cometkazie …

    You mean No, I’ve been on a couple of times today without any problem … other than the junior high kids who post there. But that’s an issue here as well 😉

  59. Deb says: May 2, 2011 5:42 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    Know what you mean about your sister’s condition affecting your brother’s health. Stress takes a tremendous toll on the body, especially when other health issues are present. Remember watching people walking through that water after Katrina and cringing, but one thing that never crossed my mind was jet fuel. Have always wondered why more hasn’t been reported on health issues related to the toxins because I’m sure others are experiencing similar problems. I pray he will rally and hope he’s not following this coverage, which would take him back to those times.

  60. southernpatriots says: May 2, 2011 5:56 PM

    Deb: Thank you for your kindness. One of the toxins in the water came from water/waste purification plants which emptied raw sewage into all areas affected by Katrina. All the chemical plants emptied their storage tanks and overflow levees into the waters. It was a great nightmare for all, but were ignored for months because the important thing was to save the lives of those who were stranded with clean water and food for weeks. It is so hard to write about these things, it is like reliving it again.

    Our brother has a tv in his hospital room and we allowed him to see that Osama was eliminated and he smiled, and said, “They finally got him!” We would not allow him to view the devastation from the tornadoes and storms. It has been hard, but he likes Laurel and Hardy films and Abbott & Costello so we have DVDs of those that we play softly for him until he goes to sleep.

    Doctors say they would like to perform 3 more surgeries on him but we hope that won’t be necessary. It is hard enough for our family, neighbors, and friends to view the videos of the devastation on tv or posted on line. Last night I became violently ill from seeing some of that utter devastation, which looked like we were reliving it again. I am trying to motivate some additional groups into organizing and going to AL to help.

  61. Deb says: May 2, 2011 7:01 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    Have done some research on the effect of laughter on recovery. The videos are an excellent choice. Also have a lot of experience dealing with trauma and PTSD, and am concerned by your posts.

    Must caution you about watching nonstop coverage and getting too involved in the recovery effort. If you experienced PTSD after Katrina, you can relapse by watching tornado coverage on television–especially while dealing with the stresses of your brother and sister’s illness. And many received a primary PTSD diagnosis by watching 9/11 coverage.

    Even if you didn’t receive a formal PTSD diagnosis following Katrina–symptoms frequently don’t appear for one to two years after the event–from what you’re posting, I’d strongly advise taking a break from all news coverage for a few days. Step back from organizing volunteer efforts and discussing this with neighbors, friends, or posting on it here. Watch comedies, classic films, read books, research college football. Take your mind off this. Get at least seven hours’ sleep a night, talk walks, eat nutritionally at regular intervals.

    I know you want to help, but we all have only so much to give. Right now, your energies must go to your brother and sister. Please take this seriously because sometimes we don’t realize we’ve crossed those boundaries until we’re already in crisis. The times on your posts are a concern. You may be a night owl, as I am, but losing sleep is also a common indicator of emotional overload. You and the other southernpatriots have to take care of yourselves so you can care for your family. God will provide for those in need. Leave it to his care.

  62. southernpatriots says: May 2, 2011 7:10 PM

    Deb: Thank you for your words of great wisdom. I was not sleeping at night (or much anytime for that matter) but I am now following your advice. I will get my neighbors to do the calling, since they wanted to help, I will let them help.

    We will try to keep ourselves concerned with LSU and SEC football and other sports, turn off the tv coverage of the devastation, and get some much needed rest.

    Thank you again.

  63. Deb says: May 2, 2011 8:31 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    Good. I’m relieved to hear that. Was worried about it. God bless.

  64. southernpatriots says: May 4, 2011 12:27 PM

    Deb: My doctor put me on bed rest most of the day. I am following his and your advice. The younger folks are taking over what I was doing. I feel bad about that, but I agree with the doctor and with you, that is the best for now. Thank you.

  65. Deb says: May 4, 2011 2:15 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    Don’t feel bad. Perhaps taking over for you will provide a gift in life experience they wouldn’t have received if you hadn’t moved aside. And one day they’ll be able to pay that gift forward as you’re doing. Things may be turning out exactly as was meant to be. You can only take care of your siblings if you’re well enough to provide that support. Take care of yourself and trust that God and the people around you will take care of the rest. Am keeping you all in my prayers.

  66. southernpatriots says: May 4, 2011 2:49 PM

    Deb: Thank you so much. Please pray for my daughter. She is a tenured school teacher of an inner city school. She truly loves the children and loves teaching. She has been teaching for almost the past 20 years with a Master’s in Education. This past year her school received a new principal who has made her life and teaching there difficult. Unknown to her the principal appears to have set her up to have her teaching contract non-renewed and thus lose her insurance which is essential for her family which has various serious health issues. The matter is now under re-consideration by the same ones who opted earlier not to renew her contract. She needs a new contract for the next school year and a transfer to another school where the principal supports the teachers. There is alot I cannot write here but you will have discernment and understanding. She needs a reversal of their decision within a short amount of time remaining. She and her precious family are at great risk without it.

  67. Deb says: May 4, 2011 6:44 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    Oh no. Will certainly keep her in prayer and wish I could offer other suggestions, but these are precarious times. And those with serious health conditions in the family are especially vulnerable since employers are also eager to be relieved of that additional insurance burden without actually saying so. It’s difficult enough to find educators who approach children from those troubled communities with a willing heart. How sad to risk losing one for such petty reasons.

  68. southernpatriots says: May 4, 2011 6:57 PM

    Deb: Thank you for your kindness and understanding. She is trying everything she knows to fight for her job and career, even a legal route if necessary, but she knows and we know that God can change things and we need some things changed for her and her family in this situation. Thank you for your prayer.

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