April 27th Super Outbreak
On this date, April 27, back in 2011 violent tornadoes rated EF-4 or higher struck the states of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi. Alabama was the hardest hit, with violent tornadoes touching down in several areas. The top two deadliest tornadoes in April since modern records began hit that day. April the 25TH through April 28TH "Super Outbreak" was one of the worst tornado outbreaks in US history. It claimed more than 250 lives in Alabama, injured almost 3,000 and was responsible for $4.2 billion in damages, making it one of the costliest tornado outbreaks in Alabama history. An incredible 349 tornadoes were spawned in the US in just over 72 hours. It was on the night of April 27TH that an EF-4 tornado claimed lives along an 80-mile path from Greene County through Tuscaloosa into the northern suburbs of Birmingham. In all that day, 62 tornadoes were reported were reported in Alabama, including right here in east Alabama. Northern Calhoun County and parts of Southern Etowah County were amongst the hardest hit in the state. Now five years later, some survivors who are still rebuilding say their lives and towns will never be the same. But, for one man, Joey George of Webster’s Chapel, he says no tornado warning or emergency plan could have prepared him. He says he and his wife have moved on, but they face constant reminders of where they live and what it used to be. He lost a general store in the storm and he and his wife almost lost their lives. George says he and his wife hid behind the counter of their store and held on to each other. They started praying and then the walls and the roof blew away. The couple were blown 133 feet away from the store. George’s two dogs were killed in the storm. But, he says it’s a miracle that he and his wife survived. He says a State Trooper carried them to the hospital to tend to scratches and bruises. George says the storm has left his community stronger and it served as a rebirth for the whole community. George says new home construction is juxtaposed with grassy, wind-swept areas and jagged tree trunks have replaced thick woods. He adds that some people are doing better than before. But, to him… It flipped a light switch. And now he lives each day to the fullest.