Flash Weather: Remembering the 4.27.11 Tuscaloosa Tornado

Four years ago today, the worst recorded tornado outbreak in U.S. history struck parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia & east Tennessee. For Nashville area residents, it's easy to forget how powerful the storm was having been spared the worst of the system's intensity (sound familiar?).

Unfortunately, communities just 50-125 miles south of us would experience catastrophic loss on what is now heralded as a 1 in 100 year storm.
Years later, the day still fascinates/haunts me...mainly because of what could have been.

People occasionally ask me if I stormchased that day. The answer is no, but I gotta tell ya...I was pretty darn close. For days, I waffled back and forth on the idea; however, something in me told me to stay home and upon further review, I'm very glad I did.

On one end, I would have likely seen my first tornado had I made the trip down to my intended destination outside Huntsville. On the flip side, I may not have lived to tell the tale about it. That's just how completely insane the day was.

So for those in the middle Tennessee viewing area...while storms continue to tease us...remember we've been very close to taking some direct hits over the years (i.e. remember the tornado that jumped over Davidson county back on 2/5/2008?). I know days like Saturday are somewhat cringeworthy in the 'cry wolf' sort of way, despite the fact most meteorologists made it clear the setup was far from perfect.

However, on anniversary days like today, it's important to remember those perfect setups can happen. Granted, they are extremely rare (hence why they're referred to as "generational events") as it takes the perfect ingredients coming together in perfect timing to produce something of epic proportions (see Nashville May 2010 flood). 

Yet, regardless of how this event impacted us, it's important to let it refresh our perspective. 'Cause at the end of the day, life is a gift; hope is a light. And when the two come together, the only sensible thing we can do is thank God where we're at.

So to my dear friends, Michael Murphy & Allie Murphy, I echo this truth by remembering you today...and celebrating the fact God has made all things new for you. The beats my heart skipped while I watched that tornado take out Tuscaloosa now find themselves skipping to the tune of deep gratitude knowing you're alive and well...

...and that God's plans will always endure regardless of what the atmosphere does. May He who uses the nature He holds together as part of our witness bless and encourage you abundantly today.

Photo: A scene from Harvest, Alabama (not far from my intended stormchasing destination) as see. during The Gate's tornado recovery outreach on July 26, 2011.

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