4-27-11 Tornado 8th Anniversary

We thought we were over it, but last September when I was in the hospital we channel flipped to the movie “Twister” during the scene when people were in the shelter during the storm. We both freaked out, and had to turn it off. The video shows why, this was what we were under that day. (I’ve never linked to a video before and it seems to want to start at the end. you may have to run it back to the start to see the whole thing.) The young guy who made it survived, fortunately. The video is remarkable but don’t try to do this, keep up with your weather and seek cover during severe weather alerts in your area.

Here’s the link to my write-up.


Here’s my late Mom’s cat, Tiger, that we lost that day. He survived and ran out of my mother’s wrecked house. We searched and searched, and never found him.

Tiger, we will always love you

Video by Jason Rosolowski. Found on youtube, (and I don’t know why it doesn’t show that at the bottom of the frame.)

(I’ve never linked to youtube before, so if I’ve done this incorrectly, someone please let me know and I’ll try to correct it.)

About Leah

I'm Leah T. Alford, a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
This entry was posted in Cats, Tornadoes, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to 4-27-11 Tornado 8th Anniversary

  1. kutukamus says:

    The film “Twister”? The one with a cow flying, right? Good movie, but bad timing. 🙂 Glad you’re doing OK 🍸

    • Catwoods says:

      Yes, that’s the movie, and I do think it’s a good film We saw it many years ago with no problem but that was before we were in a direct hit ourselves.

  2. Lavinia Ross says:

    I am sorry for your losses, Leah and family, especially your mother and Tiger. Thoughts and prayers are with you, for then, and now.

  3. Beautiful cat. I am sorry for your loss and the trauma you surely faced. I am in Alabama and not far from the recent landings of devastating tornados. My heart goes out to you and your family and our prayers are with you. Thanks for being brave and sharing.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words and sympathy! I find it hard to be near the places that are hit so I can imagine how you feel, too, the heart just sinks for anyone in those areas. We’re a lot more careful to watch the weather now, most of AL has a marginal or slight risk for tomorrow. Conditions may change by morning and I’ll be glad if they do, but I now I always pay attention.

  4. Chandra Lynn says:

    I read the whole account of your 2011 post before coming back to “like” this one. Having dealt with Hurricane Katrina, I understand the trauma of such experiences so well. Sending you hugs. On another note, I did not realize that you live in Tuscaloosa. Or maybe I forgot?

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for reading the old tornado post, Chandra Lynn, I know it’s kind of a long read for a website post! Thanks also for the hugs and I’m sending hugs in return! I know Katrina must have been a nightmare! I do live near Tuscaloosa. I don’t mention my location a lot, so it’s easy to overlook. One reason I don’t is to try for a universal feel, great forest of North America, the water connects us all, etc.

  5. Pam Lazos says:

    Oh my gosh, that was such a scary story, Cath. You guys are lucky. So sad about your mom’s cat. I often worry about the animals in times of natural disaster because they don’t always get rescued. My friend got picked up by a tornado and landed several blocks away. Crazy right?

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks Pam, we were lucky indeed, making it into the bathroom right before the hit. Wow I’m hoping your friend was ok, that is amazing about being picked up. We heard that a block from us a woman was picked up and landed on top of the house next door, with only minor injuries. That’s true about the animals, they don’t always get a lot of help, that was probably especially true in areas of my state; AL had about 63 tornadoes that day. I can’t recall how long it took but we did have some groups rescuing animals and one friend who lived on the edge of the hit zone who rescued them for several years afterward. Sometimes groups come from out of town to help but I don’t like it when they take the animals to out of town shelters for adoption instead of to local shelters where their people have a chance of finding them. Some groups do work with the local shelters, fortunately.

      • Pam Lazos says:

        It’s hard to imagine any place being safe let alone the bathroom. My friend was in a phone booth – back in the day when we still had those – and the whole booth got picked up. He had a concussion and some other bruises but overall extremely lucky. Sounds like the same for you guys. And yes, I agree about local shelters. How awful would it be to lose our cats and the dog and worse for them who wouldn’t understand what happened.❤️

  6. DS Levy says:

    Oh, dear Leah. I’m sorry I’m just now getting to read your post (I’ve been on the road), but I’m glad to know that you and your husband are (mostly) past that terrible time in your lives. Of course, poor Tiger — such a sweetie. I often think about natural disasters and how it would affect our four-legends, and I always think, “We should have a plan,” but of course I have yet to make one. Reading your words here, I will definitely stop “thinking” and start “planning.” As I write this, it is pouring down in Indiana, and cold, but I am grateful there are no wicked tornados bearing down on us — or on your part, or any part for that matter, of the country. I continue to wish you well and safe from all storms. And … maybe someday Tiger will appear — it’s happened before; I pray for you that it will happen. Hugs to you all, Deb

    • Catwoods says:

      Deb, thanks for your kind words! I still do hope for the return of Tiger, although I’m not as confident as I was in prior years. He would be getting up in age, but maybe he found another home. Sure hope so. It’s good to have plans and keep cat carriers easily available, etc. We really hadn’t done that before this storm – we’d been through hundreds of alerts and hadn’t been hit. Sorry to hear about the cold and rain! We’ve been chilly here too, with lots of cloudy days. No storms today, thankfully. We’re getting closer on the first book but something else always demands attention, everything happens at once. All the best to you and yours, many hugs, Leah.

      • DS Levy says:

        I too hope Tiger, if he found another home, found as good of one (sorry, my words sound clunky here, lol) as he had with you and your mom. He’s so sweet-looking I’m sure “good people” picked him up — but still, it would be great if he showed up, and I’ve heard of that happening, a lot, actually. My fingers crossed! Cold, cold, cold here — although no snow, thank heavens! My last day of teaching — yay!!! Best of luck with the book! Those small, subtle steps lead to big change, completion! Hugs to you all, Deb 🙂

  7. MNL says:

    I just read your long previous post. I am so sorry you never found Tiger and that your mom passed afterwards. such a horrible horrible experience but it was heartlifting where you talked about all the people who came out to help, some driving 17 hours to get there, and the guy from Texas bringing his tractor to help clear. The writing was eloquent and immediate, I felt I was there — thank goodness I wasn’t. Your husband sounds like an amazing guy and very smart, helping others and also getting you all into the bathroom in time. I hope hurricanes stay away for long long time.

    • Catwoods says:

      MNL, thank you for reading my long tornado post, and for your kind words of sympathy. Indeed, the kindness of so many who came to help, and the closeness felt in the community in the aftermath, went a long way towards helping us get through it. We still have several severe weather seasons a year and must often be on alert, but tornadoes of that magnitude (EF4) don’t happen all the time.

      • MNL says:

        That was crazy scary. I hope it doesn’t happen at least for another 200 years although, of course, it’s up to Mother Nature

        • Catwoods says:

          It indeed was an exceptional weather event, said to be “generational” by our local meteorologist. Even the smaller tornadoes can take a structure apart though. I don’t know how this article will post in a comment but the map at this link shows the multiple tracks and strengths very well: https://www.weather.gov/bmx/event_04272011

  8. Took me a while, but I got thru the original post. Don’t know exactly what to say. I notice Tiger was talked about throughout the whole article. He must have meant a lot. Tornados are rare here, and earthquakes are the big danger they talk about all the time. Good to have some emergency supplies handy, and I have cat carriers sitting out in different rooms to be quickly and easily grabbed if necessary.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for reading the original tornado post, Greg! I wrote it at first on a forum I was in, and then made it into the first post ever on this blog. Sort of compulsively. At the time, I think it helped. Oh yeah, Tiger did mean a lot, we still love him and would take him back if he did show up again. That would have been true of any of the cats who’d gone missing; the others all made it through ok, but it was indeed a reminder to always have emergency supplies and carriers handy. Earthquakes are scary and I sure hope you never have to experience one. We’ve felt a couple of minor ones here over the years – there’s a fault in the center of the nation called I think, the New Madrid fault – and I was in one mild one in CA years ago.

  9. Crystal says:

    I wouldn’t want to watch a movie like that. Especially if there were twisters likely in my area.

    • Catwoods says:

      Funny, but we had watched “Twister” years ago with no problem, even though we knew we lived in tornado country and we always took some precautions during alerts. But after actually being in one, well, everything changed.

  10. Candace says:

    How terrifying. I understand why that would traumatize you every year when tornado season returns. I, too, hope Tiger found another home, very sad.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you Candace, I sure hope Tiger found another home, too. He had good feral survival skills and everyone in town feeds ferals, so maybe he did ok.

  11. What a horrible experience, so scary *bites nails* Purraying that Tiger found himself a new home. He must have been very desorientated after that storm. He’s a very special cat<3 Pawkisses for a Relaxed Sunday to all of you🐾😽💞

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you angelswhisper2011, that is my hope too, that Tiger got a new home. It was scary out on the street for cats afterwards with the noise of clean-up and rebuilding. I think he must have traveled away from the zone of destruction. Fortunately, lots of people in this town feed ferals. ❤ Pleasant day to you, also, from Franklin and me.

  12. inese says:

    What a terrifying experience! Tiger looks like one who can take care of himself. He has probably blessed some other family somewhere. Beautiful cat!

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you Inese, it does help to think that Tiger could have found another home. And you are right, since he had lived on the street before, he likely had the feral cat survival skills to be on his own. And, lots of people in this town do feed ferals.

  13. so sad about Tiger

  14. Herman says:

    I read the post from your link to your write-up about the tornado. What a terrifying, tragic and scary story… So sorry to read about Tiger, your Mom’s cat.

  15. Lauren says:

    Oh dear Leah, we are in southeastern Washington state and we get strong winds. A minute ago it read 20.6 mph and now reads 15.9 mph, but wind is wind and it BLOWS. Effie and Paladin both vounteered for indoor naps, demonstrating their sensibility. When Iived as a child in upstate New York I saw shredded roofs on the ground, broken windows, and sometimes entire houses consumed. I remember a bakery that was
    shredded, with roof shingles all over the street and the actual property. It was in that condition for several months. Our house was untouched, but the howling wind was enough to keep me terrified. I never heard that there were any lives lost, but there could have been.

    • Catwoods says:

      Wow Lauren, those are strong winds and I know they can do damage and take down branches and maybe even trees. So be careful! Like your Effie and Paladin, our cats have never liked any kind of high winds or thunder around. I’m not sure at what speed straight-line winds are classified as severe, but I’ve seen straight-line windstorms in this state that flattened forests. That’s interesting (and sad of course) about upstate New York, and I wonder if maybe some of those were severe-level straight line winds or even tornadoes, before the days of more precise weather prediction. I can’t recall what year the weather personnel got the Doppler radar but I do remember that they were so excited, strutting around about it. I grew up in MD-VA and recall some strong winds and toppled trees, but never any talk of tornadoes in that area; now, there have been some in that region and many others where I never heard of them before. Tornadoes are even worse than straight-line winds, they classified the one we were in as an EF4, rotating winds of 166-200 mph. It flattened one-twelfth of our town. Fortunately the walls held in the part of the old house we were in although the roof blew off, windows blew in, and debris was flying – we were safe in the bathroom. The weaker addition was smashed open and that’s where Tiger ran out. BTW I’ve missed seeing your posts lately! But I don’t post often myself and understand how it’s not always possible.

      • Lauren says:

        Wow, Leah! 166-200 mph is a real killer wind! I have never been through anything like that.

        We moved from upstate New York where I was born (and where we had tornados) when I was 12, and since then I have lived in California, Houston, Montana, and now southeastern Washington State. No tornados in any of these places, or at least no damage.

        I’ve been busy and tired and hope to be posting again soon. . .Thank you for noticing! I always enjoy your posts!

        • Catwoods says:

          I always enjoy your posts too, Lauren! Sigh, we’re not in a position for a cross-country move but any place that does not have tornadoes does pique my interest!

  16. chattykerry says:

    These weather events are so frightening. A tornado passed near us and killed 3 people this month. They are even more terrifying that hurricanes and they are scary enough. So sorry you lost that beautiful cat. When it starts to rain hard I panic now after the flooding. I truly empathize, Leah. Thinking about you. K x

    • Catwoods says:

      Kerry, thank you so much for your kind sympathy and words. So sorry you’ve had to experience this too. It’s horrifying when these storms come anywhere nearby.I meant to add to my post that about 56 lives were lost in our town alone from the one tornado. And thousands injured. xxx, Leah

      • chattykerry says:

        That is so many deaths for a small town – so sad.

        • Catwoods says:

          It was a high death rate, and sparked studies by the weather personnel as to how best to present the information in ways that will make people pay attention to the weather condition and warnings. But it’s also because those EF4’s (that’s what they rated it though my husband thinks it was a 5) are really dangerous.

          • chattykerry says:

            When we got the tornado warning, we were shopping about 6 miles from home. To be honest we thought it was just another warning as they rarely set down in the forest but headed for home. The sky went almost black – terrifying and we should have stayed in place.

            • Catwoods says:

              Wow, Kerry, I’m so glad y’all are ok! Tornadoes are hard to predict because the conditions change so fast. I’m always glad when they don’t materialize but that does tend to make us less wary of the next potential severe weather alert. In any building, the smallest room, like a bathroom or closet, will be the strongest; the room farthest from the outside, with as many walls as possible between you and the outside, and no windows, is also safer.

              • chattykerry says:

                Our second bathroom is right in the middle of the house. We are always prepared for hurricanes with water, generator, money, batteries, cat food etc, One year we had forest fires just a few miles away and that was the worst. Dang Texas and its epic weather!!!

  17. We went through this last year. We were lucky and new did not get directly hit but out neighbours did. I am so sorry.

    • Catwoods says:

      Sorry you and your neighbors had to experience this too, and I thank you for your kind words. It’s terrible when it comes anywhere nearby; I remember now when you posted about that.

  18. niasunset says:

    Dear Leah, sorry again for my mistake, you know this is my second language, but how I made this mistak I really don’t know, I should have been so tired, we have just came from new home, all day we worked there, you know how my thoughts about this kind of disasters… Love, nia

  19. niasunset says:

    Terrifying, scary, I can’t imagine… Dear Leah, I hope Tiger is fine and found a new home… But in any case it should be very scary for him too. I do pray not happy tornado like that one… Have a nice weekend, Love, nia

    • niasunset says:

      not happens tornado like that one… sorry for my mistake… Love, nia

      • Catwoods says:

        Thank you so much Nia, for all your good wishes and hopes! We too hope Tiger found a new home, (he would be getting up in years now), and that we never experience any more tornadoes. Love and best wishes always, Leah

  20. Timothy Price says:

    Hopefully tiger found a new home. Tornados are terrifying.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks Tim, that’s certainly possible, and I sure hope he did. He had been a feral and had slowly warmed up to all of us, so I don’t know if he would have been slow to approach other people. We left food, water, and his litterbox outside (and we still feed ferals), put posters up everywhere, and on Animals Lost and Found in Alabama Tornadoes, and checked the shelter. The noise of clean-up and rebuilding meant he probably kept himself hidden.

  21. Mollie Hunt says:

    Terrifying! I’m sorry you had to go through that. Beautiful cat.

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