May 6, 2011


It’s been a really tough week for the home team.  On Wednesday, 27 April 2011, tornados ripped through the southeast leaving thousands homeless and 226 dead. There were 142 killed in Alabama alone.  My city, Chattanooga, lost 12 people.  Seventy-eight people died in Chattanooga plus surrounding counties.   Four “waves” or fronts moved through our area, the first at 1030 hrs Wednesday morning and the last around 2130 hrs Wednesday night.  The last front was definitely the strongest and spawned the EF4 that created the majority of the havoc and destruction.  The winds were clocked at 192 miles per hour.  I have never witnessed, on a personal level, the devastation caused by this “act of God”.  The houses in the “hood” look like a scene from a war movie and yet, my family is very very lucky relative to some in the region.  We lost power, cable, internet, phone service for eight days, one roof, gutters, downspouts and three trees.  No injuries at all.  There were 112,000 houses without power and just about all of the commercial establishments.  “The morning after”, we all surveyed the damage and started the cleanup.  That cleanup included picking up fiberglass insulation, roof shingles, pieces of metal, paper, fabric from a bed sheet (we think) and associated items we can’t even name.  One individual I know received a very distressing phone call from a cousin.  He was in the process of removing a fallen tree when he discovered a body lying a few feet from that tree.  Our great neighbor next door, Sue Whited, came over and showed me a check from a gentleman in Meridian, Mississippi.  She found this in her front yard; sent it back to the address on the check that very day.  Let’s hope it found a home still standing upon arrival. 

One city in our area was particularly hard hit, Ringgold, Georgia.   Ringgold is a town of about 7,000 people and lost the following establishments:

  • McDonalds Restaurant
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Waffle House
  • Three service stations
  • Bi~Lo Supermarket
  • Ringgold Middle School
  • Ringgold High School
  • Northwest Georgia Bank
  • Chow-Time Restaurant
  • 120 Automobiles were severely damages at the Chrysler-Dodge Dealership

It is estimated that a full one-half of all commercial establishments were either destroyed or damaged by the storms.   

Crews from Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Florida worked in our city and the surrounding area to restore power.  A crew from North Carolina “got our family going” again.  That occurred at 2130 hrs this past Thursday.  I am forever in their debt and certainly want to thank them, all of them, for their concerted efforts. 

It’s been a tough week.



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