As I mentioned earlier in the week, last Friday our area suffered horrible weather and tornadoes. On Wednesday an area to the west of us was devastated by a tornado, with two losing their lives. Then on Friday, my hometown was hit by an F2 tornado.
Earlier in the afternoon, when the storm system was moving into Tellico Plains, I called my parents to warn them. They were not home, though, but actually closer to my workplace. My mom had just gotten a new car the day before and they had come to pick it up. When the storms were striking their town, they were in the town where I live filling up with gas. They missed the storms completely, and luckily the tornado was nowhere near their house. It did, however, go right through downtown.
Here is a video of the tornado forming.
and here is a video of the aftermath
There are other videos in the "related videos" sidebar on YouTube if you're interested.
This picture has been circulating Facebook, also. It must have been taken near the time the first video was beginning, but from a different angle. Across the highway the vehicle being driven in the first video turns left onto is a shopping center, and behind that is the high school. This photo is another angle, showing the school.
Many families lost their homes, either to outright destruction or to condemnation. The high school was set up as first an overnight shelter, then a serving location to feed the many volunteers who have been working all week to clean up the town. My parents' church escaped with minimal destruction. An ancient tree fell, missing the building. One downstairs kitchen window was blown out, and many shingles were blown off the roof. Half the sanctuary was wet, but they had power, so on Sunday everyone sat on the left side and church was held. Phone service was out for several days. This was the phone company:
These two links have more photos and information about the tornado. It's almost surreal to see, having grown up there.
Guide to Tellico Plains
Monroe County Buzz
The townspeople are so inspiring, too. Instead of "why did this happen to us?" all you see is people coming together to help each other out in times of need. Volunteers are flocking to the area to do manual cleanup or just to take food and water to the workers. Serving schedules are being shared on Facebook like funny photos usually are. I was blessed to grow up in such a strong, loving community.