An Australian journalist and her husband were in Birmingham, Alabama to cover a couple stories. Jennifer Cooke called the experience “surreal” and wound up huddled in her hotel bathtub as the tornado spun its way through town. “It was thrilling in a scary sort of way,” she said.
“To my surprise, they were tracking not one, not two, not three, but four major tornadoes coming from Mississippi to the west of Alabama and sweeping across in a north-easterly direction – and Birmingham is the north of Alabama.
“There was devastation all over the place. There were live web cams coming in from storm chasers. …
“The broadcasters were saying on television that they haven’t seen such extreme weather and such a lot of it in the last 30 years and they were saying, ‘this was really bad, this is life-threatening’.”
The end result was 83 deaths and more than 60 of those in Alabama alone. The tornado was reportedly a mile wide in diameter.
The article also notes 47 deaths from a series of storms a couple weeks ago, between Oklahoma and North Carolina.
I begin to see why the South can be so belligerently religious and prone to claiming the end is nigh. Twisters are a violent yearly threat to everybody there. If belief in God gives them solace while they huddle in culverts or storm cellars or whatever scant shelter they find in time.. I guess I can say I don’t blame them for wanting to pray for their survival.
Edit 4:45 pm — I tend to write two or three posts before work every morning that I can schedule to drop over the course of the day, hence the fact that stats reported in this article are horribly inaccurate now. Associated Press’s most recent report at the time of this update lists the death toll at 280, counting all the tornadoes that have hit the South this past week.
President Barack Obama said he would travel to Alabama on Friday to view storm damage and meet Gov. Robert Bentley and affected families. As many as a million homes and businesses there were without power, and Bentley said 2,000 National Guard troops had been activated to help. The governors of Mississippi and Georgia also issued emergency declarations for parts of their states.