Tag Archives: Tuscaloosa tornado

A look at Tuscaloosa 11 months after the tornado

Cedar Crest (click to enlarge).

We’re approaching the biggest milestone since Tuscaloosa’s history-making weather catastrophe. Almost a year later, the progress is visible. So are the scars.

After finishing my work for the day, I jumped in the car and drove to a few spots to document the scene 11 months after Tuscaloosa’s defining moment. Here’s a taste of what I saw.

Apartments still needing repair behind 15th Street McDonald's.

Not far away…

Still waiting to rebuild in Forest Lake.

And just a few feet from that …

A shoe in the dried up Forest Lake. It was under water until last week.

One more from Forest Lake …

Forget something?

You can check out a few more photos from the race to sunset this evening in the gallery below. More to come as the anniversary approaches.

Tuscaloosa 11 months after the tornado

 


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Take panoramic view of nearly-drained Forest Lake

The long process of recovery from the April 27, 2011 tornadoes is taking another step in Tuscaloosa this week. First, read this Tuscaloosa News story about the draining of Forest Lake, near the Alabama campus.

Then you can check out this set of panoramic photos to see the difference a few months make. You can click all three photos to enlarge them.

March 20, 2012

Just a few months earlier …

Jan. 23, 2012

And several months before that, just a few weeks after the storm …

May 25, 2011

You can click here to follow the different updates we’ve posted since last April’s deadly storms.


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Take a video tour of Tuscaloosa tornado damage nine months later

We had a few photos of the tornado-damaged neighborhoods in Tuscaloosa earlier this morning. Now you can see the video tour through Alberta City, Holt, and Forest Lake.

 


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Revisiting before/after photos from neighborhoods destroyed in April tornado

For those of you new to the site, I had been taking a monthly tour of a few specific Tuscaloosa neighborhoods destroyed by last April’s tornado. Then football season happened and I started slipping.

Well, I got back to it yesterday afternoon. Take a quick tour around Tuscaloosa with new panoramic photos.

First, here’s a look at Fifth Avenue in Holt. It’s the neighborhood I first visited three days after the storm to chronicle the efforts of Tide athletes helping with recovery efforts.

Click here for a 360-degree panoramic view from the Holt neighborhood.

Remember you can click each picture to enlarge it.

Before

April 30

May 25

June 28, 2011

Aug. 22, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011

Jan. 23, 2012

Here’s a series from Forest Lake

May 25, 2011

June 28, 2011

Aug. 21, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011

Jan. 23, 2012

From the other side

May 25, 2011

June 28, 2011

Aug. 21, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011

Jan. 23, 2012

Now into Cedar Crest.

June 29

August 21

Sept. 29, 2011

Jan. 23, 2012

Here’s two more shots from a spot I didn’t find until September.

Sept. 29, 2011

Jan. 23, 2012

Finally, here are a few shots I got yesterday that don’t have companions.

Forest Lake on Jan. 23, 2012.

Overlooking Holt on Jan. 23, 2012.

Click here for all of the posts related to the tornado.


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Revisiting before, after photos from Tuscaloosa tornado zones

The monthly series of photos from the areas hit hardest by the April 27 tornado was updated this afternoon. Take a quick tour around Tuscaloosa with new panoramic photos

First, here’s a look at Fifth Avenue in Holt. It’s the neighborhood I first visited three days after the storm to chronicle the efforts of Tide athletes helping with recovery efforts.

Remember you can click each picture to enlarge it.

Before

April 30

May 25

June 28, 2011

Aug. 22, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011

Here’s a series from Forest Lake

May 25, 2011

June 28, 2011

Aug. 21, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011

From the other side

May 25, 2011

June 28, 2011

Aug. 21, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011

Now into Cedar Crest.

June 29

August 21

Sept. 29, 2011

 

Finally, here’s one more panoramic photo from a spot on Forest Lake I haven’t visited yet.

Sept. 29, 2011

Click here for all of the posts related to the tornado.


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Photos of Tuscaloosa five months after the tornado

Forest Lake this afternoon

It’s been 155 days since the April afternoon we will never forget in the state of Alabama. Tuscaloosa became the focal point of the recovery effort from the April 27 tornado outbreak that wiped out entire towns.

About every month, I’ve ventured to the damage zone in Tuscaloosa to take photos and update everyone outside town on the progress.

As you’ll see, progress from a month ago is noticeable. Stay tuned later this evening for an update on the month-by-month photo series for a better idea of how far things have come.

Also, click here to read an excellent story by my Decatur Daily colleague Cody Whitlock. He wrote about the connection between the 2007 killer tornado in Enterprise and the April twister in Tuscaloosa. It’s worth your time.

Tuscaloosa tornaodo: Five months later.


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Tuscaloosa rebuilding: The story and bonus material

It seems like every reporter in the state, nation took a swing at the relationship between football and recovery in Tuscaloosa. I’m no different. Here’s what appeared on a front pages here and here today.

TUSCALOOSA — Snagged on a splinter high atop a barkless and limbless tree in the Cedar Crest neighborhood, a tattered crimson T-shirt flies like a battered, defiant banner.

It’s a reminder of four months ago when an EF4 tornado ripped apart chunks of this city.

Demolition teams are tearing down the last damaged homes in Cedar Crest, while construction crews rebuild houses on wide grassy fields that not long ago were densely populated cottages and greenery.

Tuscaloosa goes back on display Saturday — with the opening of a new college football season. The barkless tree, the ruins and the reconstruction are reminders from a tornado that claimed 50 of the city’s residents on that dark day of April 27.

More than 101,000 fans will be in Bryant-Denny Stadium for the 11:21 a.m. season-opening game with Kent State University — most of whom will be seeing the city for the first time since the storm.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said to prepare for sensory overload.

“There’s not one time I’ve entered our recovery zones and not felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of this disaster, in terms of what it’s done to the landscape of Tuscaloosa,” he said. “I hope I never become desensitized to it, because it’s this innate feeling within all of us to try to return normalcy to our city.”

Read the rest here or here.

But since we can’t fit everything in the print edition, the blog becomes a great landing place for the extras. That includes photos. Here is a look at the tree I described in the first few sentences.

Tree in Cedar Crest neighborhood.

For perspective, here’s what Cedar Crest looked like before from a different angle.

Before

And after.

August 31

As with any story, there’s extra from interviews that don’t fit completely, but are still relevant. Here’s what Tuscaloosa mayor Walt Maddox said was the defining moment for him after the tornado.

“It was April 28 when we were in the Rosedale area and one of our search and rescue teams came upon a deceased child under the rubble. We saw dozens of individuals run to this debris site in an effort to remove all the hazardous material. And they were doing so without any protective clothing.

“And what struck me about it, it was blacks and whites, young and old, Democrats and Republicans. No one cared about the things that too often tends to divide us. For me, that was a very powerful moment because it reflected the real sense of this tragedy, but it also had the confident hope that we could overcome this together. “

Maddox also commented on the support he’s seen from UA alums who contributed a healthy chunk of the 21,000 volunteer hours logged in the city since the storm.

“I’ve been amazed by the efforts of those who attended the University of Alabama who have come back home. … That is such a heart-warming thing to see people give back in such a mighty way. We know we’re not alone and that is a very powerful feeling to have to know that you have friends who are going to be with you when you go down this long, winding road.”

In terms of the rebuilding, click here to view the 170-page PDF document that lays out tentative plans from the city. The full Tuscaloosa Forward website can be found here.

Finally, here’s one more photo that connects football to the tragedy of the tornado perfectly. Taken by Jay Reeves of The Associated Press, you can easily spot Bryant-Denny Stadium in the background.

AP photo by Jay Reeves

But if you look close in the foreground, you’ll see a blank lot between the road running horizontally and the remains of a brick house. That lot was the site of football player Carson Tinker’s house. Click here to read more about that and for more pictures.

Video of Saban reflecting on tornado efforts Sunday evening

Here’s a look at Nick Saban addressing the crowd at the UA Remembers program on campus Sunday evening. The event memorialized the six students killed in the April 27 tornado and honored the heroes from that fateful day.


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Bonus material for Carson Tinker story

Update: I heard from the parents of Ashley Harrison, the girlfriend of Carson Tinker who passed away in the storm. They started a scholarship in her memory.

Click here for information about the Ashley Harrison Memorial Scholarship.

—-

Carson Tinker was a relative unknown on the Alabama football team before April 27. He liked it that way. As the starting long snapper, your name typically only makes the papers if you screw up royally.

That’s certainly not the case Tinker became a household name this spring. He made national news after being thrown from his Tuscaloosa home during the April 27 tornado that killed his girlfriend. His story was even told by heavy hitters like Sports Illustrated.

Today, I took a swing at chronicling his next step in the recovery process a four months and a day after the storms. It’s one of those rare stories that can test the emotions of even a cynical sports writer.

Click here or here for the full story from Sunday’s paper.

I’m not sure I’ve encountered scenes as powerful as the memorial built in the field where Tinker and his girlfriend were thrown by the twister. She died. He survived. Here’s a look at that field.

The memorial to Ashley Harrison, Tinker's girlfriend.

And another angle.

As seen Friday afternoon.

To get a full appreciation for the power unleashed by this storm, here is a few before and after photos of Tinker’s house. The before pictures are courtesy of Google’s Street view.

611 25th Street before the tornado. (Tinker's house on the other side of the trees)

And after …

As seen Friday, Aug. 26

And one more angle. This time right in front of where the house was.

Before

Aug. 26

As I wrote about in the story, Tinker has been speaking to church groups recently. Here a link to a story in the Arab Tribune about an Aug. 14 engagement and a link to video of the event from WHNT-19 out of Huntsville.

Then take a look at Tinker at practice the morning after speaking in Arab. He’s wearing the No. 51.

Click here to check out Tinker’s Twitter page and I recommend following him.


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Revisiting before, after pictures of Tuscaloosa tornado damage

I’ll apologize now to anyone who wants fewer Tuscaloosa tornado updates and more Alabama football coverage. This is another in the series.

First, here’s a look at Fifth Avenue in Holt. It’s the neighborhood I first visited three days after the storm to chronicle the efforts of Tide athletes helping with recovery efforts.

Remember you can click each picture to enlarge it.

Before

April 30

May 25

June 28, 2011

Aug. 22, 2011

Here’s a series from Forest Lake

May 25, 2011

June 28, 2011

Aug. 21, 2011

From the other side

May 25, 2011

June 28, 2011

Aug. 21, 2011

Now let’s drive up 15th Street toward McFarland Blvd. Before photos courtesy of Google Street View.

Before

Aug. 23, 2011

Further up the road.

Before

Aug. 23, 2011

One more.

Before

Aug. 23, 2011

Now take a look at the Sports Illustrated cover with Javier Arenas.

Before

Aug. 23, 2011

Now into Cedar Crest.

June 29

August 21

And across the street.

June 29

August 21

Click here for all of the posts related to the tornado.


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Video drive-thru tornado-damaged portions of Tuscaloosa

Take a look around the neighborhoods near the University of Alabama that were damaged or destroyed in the April 27 tornado.


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Photos of Tuscaloosa nearly 4 months after the tornado

I took a drive around town Sunday evening to update some of the photos on the site from a few tornado-damaged parts of town. There are still a few neighborhoods to visit, but here are a few photos from the Forest Lake, Cedar Crest, 15th and McFarland area.

First here’s a 360-degree view from what was the Cedar Crest neighborhood. Click here for the interactive and much better version.

Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011

Here’s a look at Forest Lake.

Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011 (Click to enlarge)

Next, here’s what’s left of the Milo’s, Full Moon, Hobby Lobby shopping center.

Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011 (Click to enlarge)

To see the rest of the picture, see the album below. More to come.

Tuscaloosa tornado: Four months later

 


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Remembering a tornado victim

Michelle Downs Whatley accepts the diploma for her sister Danielle Downs who died in the April 27 tornado. (AP photo by Butch Dill)

Michelle Downs Whatley accepts the diploma for her sister Danielle Downs who died in the April 27 tornado. (AP photo by Butch Dill)

It’s not all sports all the time, here at The Daily Bama Blog. There is certainly more to life than charting a third-string offensive lineman’s progress.

That was never more obvious than Saturday morning in Coleman Coliseum. Families of students killed in the April 27 tornado were awarded posthumous degrees. The emotion — still raw from the tragedy three months earlier –created a different feel to what’s typically a pure celebration.

I wrote about the family of Danielle Downs, 24, of Priceville who died that April afternoon with friends Will Stevens and Loryn Brown — daughter of former Tide football player Shannon Brown.

Here’s what I wrote from Saturday’s commencement:

TUSCALOOSA — The shoes. The birth stone. The color purple.

All of Danielle Downs’ favorites were represented Saturday morning in Coleman Coliseum.

This was to be her big day — commencement at the University of Alabama.

The 24-year-old from Priceville was just days from crossing that stage when the horrifying tornadoes found Tuscaloosa on April 27. She died that afternoon with two friends and 45 others in the city.

On Saturday, Michelle Downs Whatley, wearing her late sister’s shoes, made the traditional walk across the graduation stage an emotional one. In Danielle’s honor, Michelle was handed one of five degrees awarded posthumously to victims of the storm.

Read the rest of the story by clicking here.


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Which pop star donated big $$$ to tornado relief?

I didn’t wake up thinking Taylor Swift would be part of my blogging routine. But since she donated $250,000 to Nick Saban’s foundation to support tornado relief, it was necessary.

The pop star’s “Speak Now … Help Now” fund kicked the six-figure check to Nick’s Kids foundation. Swift’s foundation also raised money for tornado and flood relief in Tennessee last year.


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Iron Bowl alumni game to benefit tornado relief

As we approach the three-month anniversary of the April 27 tornado that wrecked a healthy chunk of Tuscaloosa, more relief is on the way.

News of a alumni flag football game between Alabama and Auburn alumni came out today. According to The Birmingham News and Associated Press, the charity game is scheduled for Aug. 13 at Spain Park High School in Hoover.

It’s officially called HeartinDixie Alumni Day Flag Football game.

So far, the names associated with the game include Auburn’s Bo Jackson, Pat Dye and Joe Cribbs and Alabama’s Cornelius Bennett, Bobby Humphrey, Gene Stallings and Lee Roy Jordan, according to the Associated Press story.

The Birmingham News says attendance will be capped at 12,500 by the fire marshal.


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