Thursday, April 12 2012 4:09 PM EDT2012-04-12 20:09:27 GMT
Students at the University of Alabama hunkered down as a massive, mile-wide tornado came within a mile of the campus that houses thousands of people. It became the site of terror many of them had never experienced before.More >>
The spring of 2011 is shaping up to be a record-breaking season for weather fatalities. At 45, the number of people who have died from April storms now matches the total number of weather fatalities in 2010.More >>
SMITHVILLE, MS (RNN) - The National Weather Service has determined a twister that struck Smithville, MS during Wednesday's deadly tornado outbreak was an EF-5, producing winds of 205 miles per hour.More >>
President Barack Obama and his family toured the shattered remains of storm-ravaged neighborhoods in Tuscaloosa, AL, and offered hope and help as 19 Alabama counties and seven states attempt to recover from storms that killed more than 300 people.More >>
An especially violent spring storm tore through the state of Alabama on Wednesday, tearing a path of destruction across the state and killing at least 131 people.More >>
SMITHVILLE, MS (RNN) - The National Weather Service has determined a twister that struck Smithville, MS during Wednesday's deadly tornado outbreak was an EF-5, producing winds of 205 miles per hour.
An EF-5 rating is the highest and rarest rating on the Enhanced Fujita scale.
The tornado was on the ground for a little less than three miles, but took 14 lives and destroyed much of the tiny town of around 900 in the process.
In all, 18 homes were destroyed and 40 injured.
Jane Cantrell, the Smithville deputy clerk, took cover under the Town Hall's boardroom table just minutes before the tornado hit.
"We heard the train sound. It was the most horrendous sound of a train you've ever heard in your life," she said. "We could tell things were hitting the building, then we could tell there probably was no building."
While the table held firm, protecting her, the mayor, and another co-worker who took cover beneath it, the building around her had vanished.
"Nothing fell on the board table and we didn't get hurt, but everything around us was gone," she recalled. "I took my cell phone out and called my husband and said 'I'm alive, but the town's gone.'"
The half-wide mile tornado was the first EF-5 tornado in Mississippi in 45 years, the last when an EF-5 struck Jackson in 1966.
"The cars are so mangled, you can't even tell what they are," Cantrell said. "It might leave a little portion of one house, but another house is completely gone."
"Nearly every house has roof damage or trees in the yard, carports are gone. There's hardly anything that wasn't touched."
Cantrell said the Red Cross and Salvation Army have arrived and are helping the people of the town in a time of need.
In the meantime …
"We just need people to pray for us," she said. "It's going to take a lot to get us back up and going."
While she helps her neighbors rebuild, she's thankful for another day with the ones she loves, including a 15-month-old granddaughter who she says is the joy of her life.
"That table didn't save me, the Lord saved me. He's not ready for me to go. I'm just thankful he spared me."
Copyright 2011 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
Monday, April 30 2012 12:17 AM EDT2012-04-30 04:17:45 GMT
Most of the homes along Highway 20 in Hillsboro that were destroyed by those deadly tornadoes have been rebuilt, but there's still a long road to recovery. Lawrence Davis Jr. didn't imagine April 27th,More >>
Most of the homes along Highway 20 in Hillsboro that were destroyed by those deadly tornadoes have been rebuilt, but there's still a long road to recovery.More >>
Sunday, April 29 2012 12:24 AM EDT2012-04-29 04:24:01 GMT
The road to recovery still a long one ahead for a Harvest family that lost two loved ones from the April 27 tornadoes. Misty Cornwell held a memorial Saturday afternoon to remember her 15-year-old daughter,More >>
The road to recovery still a long one ahead for a Harvest family that lost two loved ones from the April 27 tornadoes. Misty Cornwell held a memorial Saturday afternoon to remember her 15-year-old daughter, Katie, and her father, Harold Fitzgerald, who were both killed by the storm one year ago.More >>
Thursday, April 26 2012 5:30 PM EDT2012-04-26 21:30:15 GMT
An August 29, 2011 Gov. Robert Bentley announced the formation of the Tornado Recovery Action Council, or TRAC. The group of industry and government leaders had a simple mission; to help Alabama recoverMore >>
The Tornado Recovery Action Council of Alabama researched and developed 20 key ways to improve disaster preparedness in the state.More >>
With the cleanup process under way and the death toll holding steady, federal, state and local officials are teaming up to put the pieces back together for the broken communities slashed by last week's devastating tornadoes.More >>