This is no time for a football rivalry

April 28, 2011 § 10 Comments

I am sure most of my readers are well aware of the massive storms that devastated much of the southeast last night. If you’re not, you might want to Google it.

I live in a town that harbors a strong rivalry against what our news outlet was calling “Ground Zero” for the Alabama storms. The death toll is rising as Tuscaloosa digs themselves out of the rubble. The University of Alabama has halted campus activities for the foreseeable future. I am confident that they are, just as we are, wrapping up their Spring semester and embarking on finals week. I wonder how the students will study. How they will be able to focus on their exams. How the graduating seniors will graduate on time. Whether there will be an “on-time” graduation at all. I’m sure these are questions and issues the President’s and Provost’s offices are currently struggling to answer.

We were spared. The storm that ripped apart our rival town glided past us to the north. The southerly little “tail” that seemed to be heading straight for us, that could possibly have spawned a tornado, even it slipped by us with nary a hailstone. We had a great deal of wind, a light show, and some rain. But nothing close to “that town to the north.”

We were lucky. They weren’t.

Tuscaloosa digs out of rubble; survivors count blessings.

Photo gallery of tornado damage in Tuscaloosa.

“4-27-2011 Tuscaloosa Tornado”

“4-28-2011 Tuscaloosa Tornado” (note: this is of the 4.27.11 tornado, but was uploaded on the 28th.)

I can only hope that as my students begin their final exams this week, they can take a moment out of their stressful days to reflect on just how lucky they are to be stressing out over tests, and I hope they are grateful for that luck.

Edit: As of 2:45 p.m., this is the latest I’ve heard in response to my own questions above. The University of Alabama has chosen to cancel final exams campus-wide. Students will have the option to accept the current grade they have in the course (adjusted to account for the removed final), or they can contact their professor about arranging a make-up final exam. Graduation has been moved to August 6th. I can only imagine this will cause some frustration for the summer graduates because it means that the summer graduation will essentially be two graduations smashed together. But, again, if they survived and are capable of feeling frustration at the new graduation schedule, then they are lucky.

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§ 10 Responses to This is no time for a football rivalry

  • Robert says:

    While I have little love for the school up the road, my thoughts are certainly with this in Tuscaloosa. Alabama Power is now saying that they have more power outages than we had back in the blizzard of ’93.

    That bigass tornado in the first video you posted (the one that looked like it was heading for Bryant-Denny Stadium) sat on the ground for almost 10 minutes. In terms of the amount of damage a tornado that size can cause, 10 minutes is practically a lifetime.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      That’s awful, honey. I’m honestly scared to look up the current death toll. I think the cumulative number across Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia is well over 50. I’m sure it’s more by now.

      And I believe it that that tornado was on the ground for 10 minutes. I watched a 7-minute video of it that I contemplated posting…but it was pretty bleak…and evoked some different emotions from me (like, “what the hell are you thinking, chasing the storm like that, you college kid???”). Sigh. I’m sure you can find it on YouTube, if you just look up “Tuscaloosa Tornado.” It’s just all so terrible. Maybe that’s why I’ve gotten so easily distracted by the royal wedding. I didn’t care before, but now I’m super interested. I think I just need a little good news for a minute, you know?

  • AMo says:

    Well said. And you are so right. Terrible what happened yesterday, but I’m so glad my Auburn peeps are unscathed!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      It was truly frightening, A.Mo. I’m glad we’re fine. I’m so glad that we can say we’re fine. There are a lot of people who aren’t fine…and a few of my loved ones (my in-laws, more specifically) have had severe power outages (we have an aunt and uncle who are without power until Sunday), and even Robert’s brother was within a mile of where a tornado touched down, further north of us. It’s scary to think just how close our own loved ones were. It’s far worse to think about those whose loved ones were actually in the storm’s path.

  • Tim says:

    I’m so glad that you missed the brunt of the storm. We were lucky, too. Less than 30 miles away, a smaller tornado ripped through and destroyed at least 12 homes, and the weather alerts said it appeared to be heading for us, but we were never touched.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Oh man, I’m relieved you guys were missed. All our weather alerts said we’d be hit, too, but we were really fortunate. But I think that speaks to the severity of this supercell. They kept saying that the storm was dissipating and reforming (which caused tornadoes in some areas), and that led to a great deal of unpredictability. Extremely frightening when you’re trying to direct people to take cover. At one point one of the weather alert banners said, “X county and Y county, TAKE COVER NOW!!!!” No kidding. Robert and I looked at each other, wide-eyed…those counties were north of us, and by that time the storm had apparently passed us, but it was shocking to see that kind of a message on the news.

  • V. Dub says:

    Our staff has been watching in shock as the death toll has risen to nearly 300 for the southern states, most of which are in Alabama. I couldn’t help but worry about you (I even donned your necklace today in thinking about you), but I’m relieved to see you’re OK. Our tiny town of Jefferson got off easy–a little lightning and thunder, some strong wind, a bit of rain. We are most certainly counting our blessings and praying for those who have lost everything. Thanks for this post. May it start a prayer chain for those affected.
    Again, so glad you’re safe!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      …300…good GOD. That’s a small town. It’s horrifying.

      Thank you for thinking about us over here. I am so glad you guys are safe and sound, too. 🙂 It really touched my heart that you wore the necklace today…that means a lot. Thanks, Vikki. 🙂

  • Thank God you’re all okay! Indeed, it is time to put rivalry aside! Hugs to you, Amanda!

  • This is horrible. My heart goes out to those people. Glad you are safe.

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