May 2, 2011

Are My Friends in Huntsville, Alabama, Safe After the 4/27/2011 Tornadoes?





May 1, 2011,10:00 a. m.

Network difficulties. Call cannot be completed at this time.

      My attempt to contact my good friend, Phredfred, and his wife Grace, who live in Huntsville, Alabama, were thus thwarted. As I expected it would be.

     Huntsville, in Madison County, was not directly hit by the tornadoes that ravaged its state and other areas. However, services were severely cut, as I learned from a local neighbor’s husband who had just left this area to work on a project outside Huntsville. After the tornadoes hit, he returned to this area and will probably not return until the end of this week. When he leaves, he will be taking a generator.

     He reassured me that Huntsville itself wasn’t in the tornado lines, but it is incommunicado, cut off from communication by land telephone lines, cell phones, and other communication devices. I would not, he said. Thus, I waited to call Phredfred until today.

       In case you are wondering at my friend’s odd name, I will tell you that he works professionally as a clown, and it is his clown name.

     After my unsuccessful attempt to contact Phredfred, I went to the Internet and researched Tornado damage in Huntsville, Alabama. I clicked on the weather storm-central post and excerpted the following:

  • (afternoon Wednesday, April 28) Thousands of people are still in the dark across North Alabama…The trouble is tTransmission lines from TVA are damaged and they’re still checking things out…Once TVA restores power to this area it could take another five to seven days to get things back up and running for all Huntsville utilities customers…Unfortunately there’s no word on how long it will take TVA to do what they need to do.*
  • (Sunday update) Slow progress was the focus of Sunday morning’s news conference at Huntsville City Hall.  City and utility officials gave updates on power and water restoration, curfew times and volunteer locations…”We are making progress,” Mike Gillespie, Madison County Commission Chairman said. “Every day is a better day.”…474,000 homes and businesses are still without power, Kevin Chandler with TVA said.  85 of 128 customer connection points had been repaired, and power was restored to the Southwest Water Treatment Plant on Saturday night…Bill Pippin with Huntsville Utilities said three percent of system capacity had been restored, compared to one percent on Saturday…”It is taking a lot longer than we anticipated, because we are only getting a little bit of power at a time,” he said….Once power becomes available, Pippin said it would be turned on for nursing homes, doctors’ offices, gas stations and other commercial customers who can provide services to the community.  It will then be restored to residential customers.**
  • …The curfew was still in place from 8 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Twenty-nine people were arrested Saturday night for curfew violations.  For those going to and from work during curfew, please carry proof of employment, and you must be going in a straight route from your work to your home.**
  • …..Many calls coming in to emergency services after hours were dealing with requests for basic items, and they ask that you continue to call and make those requests instead of getting it yourself or getting another group to go get them.**

     An Associated Press article in the Synday Greensburg Tribune-Review story stated this tornado siege was the second deadliest tornado day in U. S. history…that across the South, 340 persons were killed, at least 249 in Alabama…and the number keeps rising. I can only trust that Phredfred, Grace, and their children are safe albeit doing without modern conveniences.  

     Perhaps they are helping those less fortunate, those whose lives are devastated by death and destruction. Hopefully they will be gathering insights while taking stock of their own lives, one of the results of experiencing a tragedy. And hopefully, I will hear from them soon.  






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