RAINSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Wednesday marks the 5th anniversary of what many describe as one of the worst tornado outbreaks ever in this country. In Alabama alone, 238 people lost their lives, and thousands more lost their homes and businesses. Saturday, residents of DeKalb County paused to remember those who were lost on that fateful day, April 27th, 2011.
Researchers tell us one day they'll be able to peer into the clouds and know which storms will produce a tornado, and approximately where and when they will strike. What a glorious day that will be. In the meantime we're left to mark the anniversaries of storms that have come and gone, and taken with them that which is most precious to us, the lives of those we love.
In Rainsville, more than a hundred people gathered Saturday to mark a somber anniversary on Wednesday, the day five years ago when a massive tornado raked across the area taking 35 gentle souls with it. For some, the pain of loss is just as fresh today as it was then. And these anniversaries are very important.
“Well I think of my Mom and reminds me of all the good times I had and really makes me appreciate it, the time I had with her,” Hali Hamilton explained to us. Her mother, Charlotte Bludsworth, died in the storm, leaving a loving husband and three children behind who all miss her, terribly.
Anna Goins attended the service in memory of her three-year-old daughter Hannah, another victim of the storm.
“Where were you that day?” we asked.
“In our modular home, in the hallway."
“And it got hit?"
“Yep. Destroyed it,” Anna said, fighting back the tears.
“With y'all inside?"
“Yes. Didn't have time to get out. It was already in our yard, and..." Her voice trailed off.
“Is the passing of time making it any easier?"
“No,” Anna said, the tears flowing freely now. “Makes it harder every day."
Anna tries her best to focus on what lies ahead, but it's impossible to keep from looking back. Some days, it's overwhelming.
Those who study these storms tell us the April 27th outbreak five years ago was a once in a generation event. God, we hope they're right.
WHNT News 19 is planning special coverage of the anniversary of the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. Be sure to watch a special edition of WHNT News 19, Wednesday night at 6:30.