Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The worst of times and the best of times...

There is probably no way to capture all of the things swirling around my head in the wake of this tornado in Tuscaloosa. So I won't even try. But suffice to say, I am so thankful to be alive, safe, untouched, and unharmed after the scariest experience in my life. The same goes for my incredible husband and all the people we know in town who are still alive today.

For those of you I have talked to or messaged personally, you have probably heard some of the details. For those of you I haven't spoken with, please let the following photos and videos tell the story for me. I am tired and am reaching a point where I can't really say a whole lot more about it. But, still having some of those lingering journalistic tendencies in me, I felt it was my duty to document. So here it is:

This was my house in the Forest Lake subdivision of Tuscaloosa shortly before we moved into it in 2009:

This is my house the day after the tornado, on April 28, 2011:

Although it was damaged, it was still standing. I can't say the same for many houses in my neighborhood. The major casualty was the side porch:

A word to the wise - if you ever build a side porch on your home, go ahead and enclose it with some kind of walls - it will NOT survive a tornado. Every home in the neighborhood with similar construction had the same problem.

Also on Thursday, I did a video of getting into our street and the damage inside the house:

Tornado tour from Kelli Wright on Vimeo.

(Please forgive the narration, I didn't even know if the camera I was using took sound, so when I started talking I didn't know if I was talking to anyone or not.)

For some more photos of my neighborhood, here is the Forest Lake gallery from The Tuscaloosa News.

At any rate, now it has been several days since the storm. Each day I go through the neighborhood, instead of all the damage, I am seeing all the progress they have made. One day it was seeing all the debris trucks taking up the stuff from the yards:

Another day it is seeing new power poles being put up in the neighborhoods again. All of the progress and assistance has been astounding. Although our community does not look the same as it did a week ago, it is on track to rebuilding.

Jennings and I have moved all of our stuff into storage and are temporarily renting a friend's parents' house. In the meantime, we are still looking for a permanent home and the next adventure in our lives. Thanks to everyone again for your concern and offers of help. They have all been taken wholeheartedly and appreciated. But since we are in good shape now, I urge all of you to channel your altruism into those who still need it. UA has put together a tornado relief page to provide info on what can still be done: http://www.ua.edu/tornadorelief/

Until next time...


  1. Kelli- the video tour is amazing, i can't imagine being in that hallway when it came through your neighborhood! My family & i are in huntsville & had tornadoes just 3 or 4 miles from us but thankfully that's as close as they came. We were w/o power until last night but this does put it into perspective. So glad u & jennings are okay! Jill

  2. Glad to hear you're OK. I know you said you're good, but let us know if you need anything. For reals.