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March 01, 2012   Email to Friend 

Service And Strength: Alfa Responds
Debra Davis

A three-story barn in Maplesville lies in ruin after a tornado ripped through the area.
Alfa Insurance continues to work hard to serve policyholders impacted by the Jan. 23 tornadoes that hit Chilton, Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties. As soon as it was safe, Alfa began to mobilize extra resources to handle claims, and adjusters were in the hardest hit areas within hours of the storm. As of Feb. 7, Alfa had received nearly 900 claims from the storms.

Mark and Juliet Mullens were trying to salvage some of their belongings from their home in the Paradise Valley subdivision in the Clay-Chalkville area of Jefferson County by mid-afternoon following the storm. Their neighborhood in shambles, their home heavily damaged, they said they weren’t sure where to start. Alfa Claims Adjuster Dan Headley made his way through the debris-strewn streets in their neighborhood to help.

“Everything we have is with Alfa,” Mark told Dan. “We’re glad to see you.”

The Mullens have lived on San Marcos Drive for 32 years and have been Alfa customers most of that time. Their house received heavy damage from the storm, much of it caused by giant trees uprooted throughout their neighborhood. Their front lawn was covered with debris from their across-the-street neighbor’s home that was completely blown off its foundation.

After surveying the damage, Headley wrote the Mullens a check to help them with temporary housing and storage for their belongings.

Alfa adjusters were also busy in Tuscaloosa and Chilton counties where heavy damage occurred.

Surveyors with the National Weather Service identified the tornado that tore through Paradise Valley as an EF3, with winds of 136 mph to 165 mph. The two storms in Tuscaloosa County were both rated as EF2-strength tornadoes that caused moderate to heavy damage. ”Nothing like this has ever happened to us.” Juliet said. “We just feel lucky to be alive. It’s amazing that no one on our street was killed. That’s not the case just a little ways from here.”

Heavy damage also was reported in areas of Chilton County where a three-story cattle barn collapsed and numerous homes and businesses were damaged.

What awaits Alabamians in terms of spring storms is an educated guess at best, but experts are predicting a severe storm trend will continue throughout the season, with record-high temperatures partially to blame.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, almost 2,800 record-high temperatures were either tied or broken across the country in January (compared with about 160 daily record lows that were either tied or broken).

Greg Forbes, Weather Channel severe weather expert, says the climate pattern ­— La Niña — tends to produce large tornado outbreaks from January to April across the country. La Niña refers to cooler-than-average tropical Pacific Ocean water that affects weather and climate around the world.

To report a claim, contact a local Alfa service center or call 1-800-964-2532. Policyholders also may file claims online at www.AlfaInsurance.com.

Policyholders who have a claim are encouraged to make temporary repairs to their property to prevent additional damage and should save all receipts. Additionally, policyholders should only do business with reputable companies.

To see a video of the interview with the Mullenses visit AlfaFarmers.org and click the video link at the bottom of the page.


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