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September 27, 2021


Boots on the Ground – Tuscaloosa

Mudflatters will remember ‘Mrs. D’, also known fondly as the Chair of the Mudflats History Department. She has reported on various locations from around the globe, with a historical perspective and our mascot Brian the Moose in tow. This past weekend, she had booked a flight to Alabama for a family wedding. Little did she realize when she made travel plans what would await when she got there.


By Mrs. D

I had always heard that if you want to see the indiscriminate wrath of mother nature, take a look at the destruction of a tornado. As we drove into Tuscaloosa, we saw trees sheared off right in the middle of the trunk. I foolishly thought, “this doesn’t look too bad.” We checked into our hotel, about three miles from the area that was directly struck. There wasn’t a leaf out of place. We even had electric and cable. President Obama had been there that morning, and the local press seemed genuinely glad that his visit would bring federal dollars and national attention to their plight.

The next morning we went to the local Waffle House for breakfast. There was Lester Holt from The Today Show. We knew we must be close to the affected area, so after breakfast we went for a drive. I know it is a cliche, but I have never seen anything like it.

Only three miles from our hotel, cars were flipped over on their sides, strip malls and homes were completely demolished. People were wandering amongst the rubble, dazed. At an intersection there was a preschool/daycare facility untouched but across the street there was a gas station completely demolished. We heard this morning on the radio that personal items such as pictures and credit cards from Tuscaloosa have been found in Birmingham, 45 miles away!

The air waves and the local papers were filled with tragic stories of the children and the elderly that just made your want to hug your kids, and realize your problems are nothing.

The people of Tuscaloosa do have something to be grateful for – the university, with thousands of students studying for finals, was missed by about a mile.  Those spared college students have shown up in force to help with the effort. (The U. of Alabama and Auburn rivals are working together)

The Red Cross and the Salvation Army’s response was almost immediate. People and businesses are donating everything from empty boxes to clothing, food and water. Local churches are donating space for the homeless. (The Salvation Army’s Women’s Shelter was destroyed!!) Insurance companies were already visible and our hotel was completely booked with utility workers from near and far.

My pictures were taken from a moving car and only on the streets that were open to traffic. I can’t imagine the destruction of all those unseen streets.

If Mudpuppies are inclined to donate, I would think the Red Cross and the Salvation Army would be the safest bet.

Also, you can text REDCROSS to 90999 and donate $10 for Tornado relief.








10 Responses to “Boots on the Ground – Tuscaloosa”
  1. tigerwine says:

    That same tornado passed within 3 miles of me. Would you believe I slept through it all?

    The hardest hit was in the Lake Burton area. With he roads all covered with debris, fallen trees, etc. it was impossible to get help to them quickly, and so the first on the scene was the fire boat.
    Friends from church, in their 80’s, were imprisoned for over 6 hours before help came. On top of everything else, it ws the middle of the night. The lady was under a mattress covered with all sorts of stuff. Her husband, who is on oxygen 24/7 is still in the hospital. It’s a miracle they both survived. A man about a half mile away didn’t. It took the first responders/firemen 2 hours to dig them out. Several friends are staying with friends and family until the electricity is restored.

    Love and prayers to all who survived this monster storm, and to the rescuers, and folks who are looking after them now

  2. Laurie says:

    She can’t pass up a photo op with the Christianists. It targets the same folks who giver her money.

  3. majii says:

    I was just in Fairfield, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Montgomery, AL a couple weeks before these storms hit. I know what these people are going through. A tornado ripped through Middle GA, which is where I live, back in 2008, and the pics Mrs. D shares are similar to what our area looked like at the time. I will never forget the sound of that tornado as my family and I hovered in an interior bathroom of our home. Our home suffered significant damage. Huge trees were pulled from the ground like they weighed nothing! We had several trees downed that blocked several parts of our street, and in many parts of the city, travel was impossible. It was over 2 weeks before power was restored, and this was with repair personnel coming to GA from surrounding states to help GA Power. I’ve been praying for the families that lost loved ones and for the survivors. Events like these are not easy to recover from because they take an economic, emotional, and psychological toll on the affected individuals.

  4. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Bad things happen in the world, more or less all the time. We only notice those whose magnitude is so great they cannot be ignored. Tornados are a very dangerous form of weather there is no doubt about that. Is it any coincidence that republicans want to cut funding to NOAA and the NWS? Can anyone imagine what the death toll would have been from these tornados without the advanced technology of doppler radar applied to weather instead of missiles, or the warning systems that informed people that they needed to take shelter?

    Today I have read, BS visited Alabama to promote the con of Samaritans Purse. Predators, jumping onto the backs of the bereaved and destitute.

    How vile can it be to exploit the devastation of others?

  5. jojobo1 says:

    Mother nature at her worst, let the clean up and rebuilding begin.The red cross and salvation army are always out front when needed.I remember when my daughters house caught on fire,did not burn down ,but could not be lived in,the red cross and salvation army both helped with a place for the family of 5 to live and money for cloths as all they had were what was on their backs.

  6. mary wilson in TN says:

    Thanks, AK…here in East Tennessee we had 2 powerful tornadoes devastate one county, killing 6 in one community, Camp Creek. My dear son-in-law lost a favorite uncle, and the aunt is in critical condition…Their home was flattened but their children and two tiny grandchildren survived by getting into a closet…the only thing still standing…this is a small, very close community…the other tornado killed one woman…Tennessee lost 30, countless injured, hundreds of homes destroyed, power out for days…
    But in the midst of tragedy, loss of life and property, so many had helped volunteer, helped restore power, helped clean up…and our government, federal, state and local have been here from Day 1.

    Our President was in Alabama, and included in his comments: So many families lost loved ones, and we know that they are all walking beside God now…so profound…
    Just to let everyone know…Four southern states are hurting, but are going to survive and re-build.

    • Smokey Mountain Blue says:

      I must be close to you. Camp Creek is about 30-35 miles west of me. Luckily, our county suffered
      damage but no loss of life. We lost many, many trees. I have relatives close to Tuscaloosa. I
      have heard some horrendous stories along with many wonderfully compassionate ones.

  7. weaver57 says:

    I have donated. In 1996 we had half our roof torn off by a tornado. The noise is nothing I ever want to hear again. But we had nothing like what happened in the South. With all of that and the mess in Japan, how will they ever be able to move all the debris in order to rebuild?

  8. mag the mick says:

    Thank you for showing us how bad it is. I will make a donation tomorrow.

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