One year after the April 27 tornadoes most are healing, but scars remain
By Kate Harrison, Chattanooga Times Free Press - bio
A still frame from a video shot by Tony Walls outside his office on April 27, 2011, shows the monster EF5 tornado bearing down on the town of Rainsville, Ala.
(Times Free Press) -- For 15 hours on April 27, 2011, the tornadoes multiplied in number and ferocity. Mountains couldn't wear them down. They hurdled rivers, zigzagged through state lines and skipped across time zones.
As the day wore into night, the TV forecasters' voices grew hoarse. Emergency workers' radios crackled incessantly with new tidings of disaster: a new area hit, another vital road blocked, another person who needed help — fast. Dispatchers with 911 call centers grew weary and frayed as they stayed glued to their chairs for hours on end.
And still the tornadoes kept coming.
Weather maps became mazes of dark red polygons as tornado warnings blanketed the Southeast. Tornado-ravaged counties in Alabama sent out mutual aid requests to counties in Georgia and Tennessee, which were already overwhelmed with their own mounting disaster.