|Damage left in the wake of an EF-3 tornado in Jacksonville, AL, March 2018|
Thursday, March 22, 2018
As part of a late winter storm system (named “Toby”) that moved through the Southeast earlier this week, at least 13 tornadoes touched down in Alabama. Buildings like the one in the photo in one community, Jacksonville AL, were seriously damaged and the repair estimates are in the tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars. In fact, at Jacksonville State University, where the devastation was severe, administrators have opted to close the campus for a number of weeks to clean up and rebuild.
But a tweet sent out by the National Weather Service in Birmingham, AL, happily reported that there were miraculously no fatalities. The tweet continued with, “Sweeter words have never been spoken after a significant severe/tornado event. Thank You, Central AL, for staying weather aware & heeding warnings on Monday!”
Therein lies the real lesson for all of us, at least for this particular type of natural hazard: Heeding the warnings and taking shelter saves lives. Obviously, safety is never guaranteed, but if those in harm’s way listen and get out of the way, their chances for survival are far greater.