TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — A somber day of remembrance across Alabama. April 27, 2011 turned into a frightful day for communities across Alabama, as 254 people lost their lives.
Tornadoes left 53 people in Tuscaloosa dead and 1,200 injured.
Shalare Powell will never forget that tragic day, she has lived through two disasters. Powell is from New Orleans and lost her house after Hurricane Katrina destroyed it. After moving to Tuscaloosa her home was destroyed again by an EF-4 tornado.
Powell described how she tried to seek shelter from the storm.
“First I got into the bathtub, and I felt debris falling on me, and it’s something. I mean the Lord told me to get out of the tub and I stepped into my closet then the wind pushed the door behind me and everything fell on me,” she said.
Powell now has a new Habitat house on Juanita Drive after 65 percent of her Alberta community was destroyed.
“It brings back bad memories, but a good outcome. I lost everything in Hurricane Katrina and then lost my house April 27 during the tornado,” said Powell. “I went from a very bad place of losing everything twice not knowing how I was going to make it to now being a homeowner and I am looking forward to life now.”
Mayor Walt Maddox told CBS 42 that the tornado caused a half-billion dollars in damage citywide, destroying five thousand structures including homes and businesses.
“Certainly, nothing compares to April 27 and nothing has ever since. That was more than a disaster– it was a catastrophe,” said Maddox. “When 13 percent of your city is destroyed in six minutes there’s nothing that can compare to it from the humanitarian standpoint and economic and ultimately with the years following in the recovery.”
On April 27 there were 62 tornadoes. 35 Alabama counties were hit.