|Damage in Henryville, Indiana|
Deadly Tornado Outbreak:
One Year Later
It had been an unusually warm day for Kentucky and Southern Indiana last year yet no one had been expecting the unthinkable to happen. The National Weather Service had issued tornado watches throughout Southern Indiana and Kentucky early in the morning. We went about our daily routines with our ears to the news reports and and one eye on the sky. The news couldn't tell us where the tornadoes would occur just that the entire area should prepare for tornadoes.
It didn't take long for the tornadoes to hit the ground. There were so many that the newscasters couldn't keep up. The NOAA estimated there were 45 tornadoes between Indiana and Alabama and 75 touchdowns on Friday, March 2nd. It was one of the largest tornado outbreaks our country has seen in years. Thirteen EF-3 or higher tornado touchdowns were confirmed in Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virgina.
The tornadoes moved so fast it was hard for the meteorologists to keep up. I can still remember when the deadliest E4 tornado destroyed Henryville and the news told us it would be heading towards Carrollton, Kentucky. My husband and I were living in Carrollton at the time. The news was adamant that anyone in Carrollton take cover immediatly. My husband and I were living in a three story Victorian home. He was supposed to work that night and had waken up around 3:00pm. The sirens in Carrollton went off a few moments later. We headed into the basement with our dog and two cats then waited the storm out. We heard the freight train sound of the EF-3 tornado that was passing close to our house. We heard the roof rattling. The tornado touched down only a few streets away from our home. We lived on 5th street and it had touched down on 3rd street. It picked up again, touched down again on 11th street, went back in the air then touched down once again behind the Walmart . I will never forget that experience. Our tornado headed straight for New Liberty, Kentucky.
The worst tornado touchdown occurred in Henryville, Indiana. The small town was completely wiped off the map by an EF-4 tornado that ripped through their town with wind speeds up to 140mph. The tornado that had destroyed Henryville had left a trail of destruction from New Pekin, Indiana to NEw Liberty, Kentucky killing 11 people.You can read about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_March_2012_tornado_outbreak#New_Pekin_.E2.80.93_Henryville.2C_Indiana.
One Year Later
The day after the tornado outbreak occurred Kentucky and Indiana residents gathered together to support one another. Both Kentucky and Indiana were declared states of emergencies meaning no civilians could enter into Henryville or any other town that had been affected. The American Red Cross responded quickly to aide the victims. Churches and communities on both sides of the Ohio River gathered supplies and delivered them to those in need. A few weeks later, when things started to settle down the vultures came. The vultures were people claiming to be victims from Henryville who scammed people by telling them they had lost everything they owned and needed financial help. Henryville had become a breeding ground for con artists and scammers. The news had reported the story telling everyone if they wanted to help Henryville then they should give through the American Red Cross or their local church.
The residents of Henryville were determined to rebuild their town. Henryville schools were hit the hardest and the kids were out of school for a time. Henryville needed things to return to normal for the kids so they held school utilizing a temporary building in Scottsburg, Indiana until the new schools could be built. You can see a video about the Henryville school and learn how Lady Antebellum helped rebuild the students hopes at http://bit.ly/WFA9iA
One year later, Henryville residents marked the anniversary of the tornado that ripped through their town by coming together and reflecting upon their experience. The tornado may have destroyed their town but it did leave something precious behind - love, hope and inspiration.