On April 3rd, 1974, the Tennessee Valley experienced a violent tornado outbreak as a strong storm system tracked through the region. A total of 10 tornadoes touched down, of those, five were extremely intense and long-lived F4 and F5 tornadoes.

News 19 Anchor Greg Screws, was 13 years old at the time but it is an event that continues to stick with him. The storm struck his dad, who was a principal in Guntersville at the time. His mom, sister, and he were home and didn’t have a way to contact him; thankfully he was okay!

What I vividly remember is there was so much lightning that night, what you would get is it was completely lit up the night was and you would get a flash of dark. There was so much lightning you could have read a book in the hallway.

Greg Screws, News 19 Anchor

Greg and his family took shelter from the storm in the hallway with mattresses to help protect them. The day after the storm, Greg traveled to check on his uncle in Cullman County whose home was destroyed by the storm. His uncle and family survived by taking shelter in the basement.

Greg shared another vivid memory that stuck with him was that the only thing left standing from his uncle’s home was the bathroom closet. When his mother pulled open the jarred closet door, he says she found that the sheets and towels inside remained neatly folded with debris packed inside.

It’s one of those things to that I look back and think, you know how many people would not have died that not if we had the technology we have now. We probably could have saved a lot more people if we had the technology.

Greg Screws, News 19 Anchor

For more on the 49th Anniversary of this Tornado Outbreak click here.