Thursday, April 12 2012 4:09 PM EDT2012-04-12 20:09:27 GMT
Students at the University of Alabama hunkered down as a massive, mile-wide tornado came within a mile of the campus that houses thousands of people. It became the site of terror many of them had never experienced before.More >>
The spring of 2011 is shaping up to be a record-breaking season for weather fatalities. At 45, the number of people who have died from April storms now matches the total number of weather fatalities in 2010.More >>
Thursday, May 5 2011 7:46 PM EDT2011-05-05 23:46:40 GMT
It may have seemed like searching for a needle in a haystack, but one Lawrence County woman said it was divine guidance that lead to her finding her engagement ring.More >>
TUSCALOOSA (RNN) - When University of Alabama law student Taylor Nichols emerged from his safe place, the laundry room in his apartment, his life was thankfully intact - but much of his second-story apartment wasn't.
"I could see there was too much light coming from our bedroom," he said. "I had a bad feeling."
The wall of his Tuscaloosa apartment had been ripped off and light flooded into the debris-riddled space that used to be his bedroom.
"The famous freight train, I definitely heard that, but I thought maybe it was just the wind," he recalled. "I knew it was a tornado when my ears popped. The pressure just dropped really fast and I knew that's what it was. Then we heard the glass break and the entire apartment was shaking."
He had been on the phone with his dad, who was driving back to Tuscaloosa from Tennessee, unaware of how severe the weather situation had become. As Nichols and his wife huddled in their laundry room, the tornado hit.
"We had him on speaker phone and he heard a lot of noise and us screaming and then it cut out," Nichols said. "We were on the floor in the laundry room and I assume the cell towers blew out because it went off line."
Almost as soon as the storm hit, it was over, the damage done.
"It didn't feel violent enough to have ripped off the entire side of the building, but that's what happened," he said. "It seemed like an eternity, but it lasted probably 30 seconds tops."
"It sucked up the mattress off the bed frame but the bed frame was [still] there. The TV sitting in the corner of my room was still there. The wall was gone but the TV was still sitting there. I have no idea how that was even possible."
Nichols said it's the third tornado to hit a home he's lived in. A twister hit his family home as a child. Another tornado hit his Montgomery, AL apartment in 2006, when Nichols was at work.
"After every one, I said 'My chances of getting hit [again] by a tornado are pretty nil,' but I say it every time and I get hit every time."
Nichols says he and his wife will be living with his parents while they look for a new place. And he's keeping a good sense of humor about the search.
"We'll be living in a downstairs apartment next time, maybe a brick building, cinder block," he said. "My wife and I are physically ok so that's what matters."
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Monday, April 30 2012 12:17 AM EDT2012-04-30 04:17:45 GMT
Most of the homes along Highway 20 in Hillsboro that were destroyed by those deadly tornadoes have been rebuilt, but there's still a long road to recovery. Lawrence Davis Jr. didn't imagine April 27th,More >>
Most of the homes along Highway 20 in Hillsboro that were destroyed by those deadly tornadoes have been rebuilt, but there's still a long road to recovery.More >>
Sunday, April 29 2012 12:24 AM EDT2012-04-29 04:24:01 GMT
The road to recovery still a long one ahead for a Harvest family that lost two loved ones from the April 27 tornadoes. Misty Cornwell held a memorial Saturday afternoon to remember her 15-year-old daughter,More >>
The road to recovery still a long one ahead for a Harvest family that lost two loved ones from the April 27 tornadoes. Misty Cornwell held a memorial Saturday afternoon to remember her 15-year-old daughter, Katie, and her father, Harold Fitzgerald, who were both killed by the storm one year ago.More >>
Thursday, April 26 2012 5:30 PM EDT2012-04-26 21:30:15 GMT
An August 29, 2011 Gov. Robert Bentley announced the formation of the Tornado Recovery Action Council, or TRAC. The group of industry and government leaders had a simple mission; to help Alabama recoverMore >>
The Tornado Recovery Action Council of Alabama researched and developed 20 key ways to improve disaster preparedness in the state.More >>
With the cleanup process under way and the death toll holding steady, federal, state and local officials are teaming up to put the pieces back together for the broken communities slashed by last week's devastating tornadoes.More >>