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The Deep South six months later

Six months ago today was one of the days we’ll never forget.

The day I’m talking about is of course April 27, 2011.

All you have to do is just mention that date and everyone in Alabama and most of the Deep South knows exactly what you’re talking about. It was the day that strong and violent tornadoes ravaged many, many areas of our state.

It seemed like the radar signature of every storm out there had the same hook echo with a debris ball. We were just fortunate that none of those storms decided to come through Hartselle.

While it didn’t affect Hartselle directly, many of our friends and family members in communities around this state witnessed this sheer devastation. Some of us even lost loved ones on that tragic day.

My heart and prayers goes out to the those families, especially the families of Priceville graduates Danielle Downs and Will Stevens who died when an EF-4 tornado roared through Tuscaloosa near the University of Alabama campus. I can’t imagine what these families have gone through.

There were others in the Hulaco community of Morgan County that were also hit with the same EF-4 tornado that damaged downtown Cullman and Arab. I know some may have already rebuilt, but many are still in the process of rebuilding their homes and lives.

Our state is still hurting from those April storms. I’ve driven through numerous parts of this state in the months since the outbreak. Everywhere I go, you’ll go through an area where you can tell a tornado hit.

I’ve searched the Internet for information on that day and found numerous videos, photos and stories of all of the major storms from the day, from the EF5 tornado that hit Hackleburg and Phil Campbell to the EF4 tornadoes that hit Cullman, Cordova, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Lake Martin and many other areas.

When I flip over to The Weather Channel and see a show like “Storm Stories,” it’s usually documenting the new largest tornado outbreak in U.S. history. It has been called the 2011 Super Outbreak, which surpassed the number of tornadoes in 1974’s Super Outbreak.

While we never really heard much about it, the same storm system produced major flooding along the Mississippi River. And of course, the storms caused the major TVA power outage that we all felt here in Hartselle and the rest of the Tennessee Valley.

There’s never been a day like this and I hope there never will be again. But our state will rebuild and is rebuilding. It may take us a couple of years, but we will be back.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.

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