5 years ago today, a series of tornadoes carved the state of Alabama up like a Thanksgiving turkey. It devastated other states too, but the death toll and the destruction here were the worst by a considerable margin. Every year I mistakenly think, "I'll get through April 27 without crying" but that has yet to happen.
  1. There was an eerie feeling in the air all day. We have tornadoes from time to time, but there was something different about that day. Everybody knew it was coming. The sky was weird all day.
  2. There were scattered tornadoes in the morning but the shit really started hitting the fan later in the day.
  3. The towns of Cullman, Hackleberg, Phil Campbell (yes, that's a place not a person) and others got walloped, but there was still more to come.
  4. Tuscaloosa and Birmingham and others got blasted too....just later in the day.
  5. You cannot fathom the sound a 1.5 mile wide tornado makes until you hear it. (A friend took this pic. It narrowly missed downtown Birmingham.)
  6. When it was over there was nothing but the sound of ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars attempting to rescue people.
  7. And the sirens went on well into the night because it was way worse than anyone could've imagined.
  8. Because people aren't okay when things like this happen. Nevermind the property, human lives are at stake. And tornadoes are unforgiving bastards.
  9. Hospitals were overflowing with the injured. Thousands of them.
  10. The death toll was awful. It took over a week for everyone to be accounted for.
  11. I remember the horror of helping someone evacuate their apartment the next day and their roommate getting a call that one of her friends had been found among the dead.
  12. I'll get through April 27 without crying someday. It just won't be in 2016.