April 27, 2011, remembered

Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 4/27/16

There are few days that have remained etched into our minds, but for the people of Walker County, April 27, 2011, is one of those days.

A widespread tornado outbreak hit Alabama that day, with 62 …

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April 27, 2011, remembered

Posted

There are few days that have remained etched into our minds, but for the people of Walker County, April 27, 2011, is one of those days.

A widespread tornado outbreak hit Alabama that day, with 62 twisters touching down and more than 200 people in 19 counties losing their lives, including nine people in Walker County. Anyone living in the path or even near the path of the storm was changed forever.

Even though that particular day has become a lasting memory, it has been five years since the destruction took place, and the possible consequences of major storms are not always at the forefront of our thoughts.

As we think back on the anniversary of April 27, 2011, let us all continue to remember the dangerous nature of these storms and be prepared for them, as we are in prime time for tornadoes and severe weather.

The American Red Cross offers several tips on how to prepare for a tornado:

•During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA weather radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.

•Know your community's warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornados, with many having sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.

•Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

•Practice periodic tornado drills so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching.

•Consider having your safe room reinforced. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA website (fema.gov).

•Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.

•Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

•Watch for tornado danger signs such as dark, often greenish clouds — a phenomenon caused by hail; a wall cloud — an isolated lowering at the base of a thunderstorm; a cloud of debris; large hail; a funnel cloud — a visible rotating extension of the cloud base; and roaring noise.

•The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room.

If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.

•Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or other severe winds. Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of a mobile home, and if you have access to a sturdy shelter or a vehicle, abandon your mobile home immediately.

•Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately, using your seat belt if driving.

•Do not wait until you see the tornado to act.

Living in our section of Alabama, we can never go over these tips too many times. Being prepared before and during a severe weather event has been proven as the best way to save lives and limit injuries.

As we look back on the past five years, the Daily Mountain Eagle has strived to continually tell stories on the aftermath of the tornadoes. From destruction to recovery, we have attempted to keep our readers informed. After five years, a lot has been done in the areas hit by those storms. After five years, there remains much left to do in those same areas.

Let us all take this day remember April, 27, 2011.

— Daily Mountain Eagle