Ring Side Seats: The Alabama April Tornadoes

Perspectives on the American respond to the covid19 pandemic thus far.

Living in disasters. My essay from April 2011, after we survived another round of deadly tornadoes where we lived in Alabama. Price gouging, rampant theft and violence, and the privileged mocking and scoffing at some POC and poor people who hadn’t money to “stock up & ride it out”. But special moments, too, as my mother, son and I grew closer and some neighbors came together to help each other.

“Ration water, fuel especially as there was no ETA on when gas trucks could get through was broadcast repeatedly. Power was going to be out for at least a week because the nuclear power plant that supplied the valley, Browns Ferry, had been damaged. I awoke to the sounds of lawns being mowed and watered, however.”

Red Haircrow

Valley After the Storm by Red Haircrow

The city was dark and silent beyond anything it had known in recent history. Even the stars seemed concerned, reluctant to show until early morning hours.

With distressing finality, a hum and muffled thump, all electricity had ceased. A gloomy, ominous sky had brooded between gouts of blinding rain, lightening, thunder, and winds so strong it lay trees over within seconds. After the near incessant shriek of sirens through a day more akin to night, it was terrifying.

We were without a batteried radio to know exactly what had taken place, but from my experience of living through two other serious tornadoes, besides regular severe weather, it was the “silence after the storm.” I knew something serious had happened. The air was dead, heavy and cooling noticeably. In 1989, when a tornado had ripped throug Airport Road in southeast Huntsville, taking away part of the building I was in, when…

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