Storm survivors share their stories ABC 33/40's Storm Alert Tour - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Storm survivors share their stories ABC 33/40's Storm Alert Tour

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© The first event on the 2013 Storm Alert Tour was held at Holt High School in Tuscaloosa on Thursday. (abc3340.com) © The first event on the 2013 Storm Alert Tour was held at Holt High School in Tuscaloosa on Thursday. (abc3340.com)
© ABC 33/40 Chief Meteorologist James Spann talks about the April 27th, 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa.(abc3340.com) © ABC 33/40 Chief Meteorologist James Spann talks about the April 27th, 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa.(abc3340.com)
© Milton Jefferson talked about his experience during the April 27th tornado in Tuscaloosa. (abc3340.com) © Milton Jefferson talked about his experience during the April 27th tornado in Tuscaloosa. (abc3340.com)

 Storm Alert 2013 got underway Thursday night in Holt. The community in Tuscaloosa County was hit hard by tornadoes on April 27th, 2011.

Many homes are still torn apart from the storm that hit almost two years ago. 
That storm left behind - not only physical damage like, but stories of survival and at Storm Alert - we had the chance to hear a few.

"It does me good to hear the stories of the people who lived," James Spann, ABC 33/40 Chief Meteorologist said. "People who knew what to do, they heard the warning, they got into a safe place and they're fine. So it's an encouragement to all of us to hear the success stories." 

Stories, like Milton Jefferson's.

"Everything just got still, quiet," Milton Jefferson, who lives in Holt said. "Was spinnin' faster than anything I've ever seen in my life. The only thing I could do was pray. You could hear hollering, crying, people hollering 'help!'"

What we found at the first Storm Alert stop were survivors. People who are quick to tell you that storm changed their lives that day.

"I had left work to go home to see my kids," Andy Graves, who survived the storm said. "I thought I would make it there before that but I didn't make it. The truck I was in, it tore it up. I was in the truck. I saw the whole thing. I saw the front of it, the inside, and the back of it. I made a mistake because where I was at, I thought I could make it home."

"When I opened up my front door, all I could see were trees all around my house," Bessie Burden, who lives in Alberta City said. 

"We went into our smallest bathroom in our whole house and squeezed together," Samantha Gentile, a 10 year old survivor said.

"We are blessed. We are blessed to be here tonight," Jefferson said.

And this year, Storm Alert is taking those stories plus new information gathered after April 27th to help Alabamians be prepared during the upcoming spring tornado season.

"We've learned a lot from social studies from April 27, 2011," Spann said. "The death toll that day was 252. That's too high. It's unacceptable. That was way too high. We share the information we've learned to make us better and we'll be able to help the public be better prepared as well."

If you missed this Storm Alert stop, there are four more planned during February. The next stop is in Jasper on Feb. 12th at 6:30. 

 

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