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April 01, 2012   Email to Friend 

March Tornadoes Tear Through Alabama
Debra Davis

Grain bins filled with corn were obliterated in the March 2 tornadoes. Bentley Walls of Meridianville said his farm took a direct hit.
Tornadoes tore through Alabama March 2, leaving behind an all too familiar path of destruction.

Becky Hubert of New Market, just north of Huntsville, said she had been listening to weather alerts that day and had a “gut feeling” it was going to hit her house.

“I just got in the truck and went to the storm cellar, and several people were down there,” she said. “When I got in, we shut the door, and it just hit. It was over in a matter of minutes.”

When she walked out of the cellar, Hubert said she knew her intuition was right. The storm had hit her house. The storm cellar, located a short distance from her home, also provided shelter for many of her neighbors, some random motorists driving by and several members of TV news crews who were in the area.

“I can’t say enough kind things about the people in this community,” Hubert said the next day. “They have worked and got their hands dirty and just jumped in to help. You didn’t even have to ask. The majority of the stuff has been cleaned up out of the yards.”

Billy Harbin, also of New Market, recalled huddling in the hall of his brick ranch-style home during the storm with his invalid wife and her nurse.

“There was a lot of noise before it got here, and then when the glass broke out of the windows, it really got loud,” he said. “Then the frequency of the sound changed, and it was scary as everything. But we survived.”

Harbin said he didn’t call anyone for help, but volunteers began showing up only minutes after the storm. He said when he tried to call Alfa’s toll-free claims number, an Alfa official interrupted his call to see if he needed help.

“I just don’t see how you can beat that,” he said of the company’s service.

The Meridianville farm owned by Buddy Darwin, Bart Darwin and Bentley Walls was especially hard hit during the storm. Their equipment barn took a direct hit. Giant tractors were tossed like toys. Huge grain bins were obliterated.

“We actually were able to see both tornadoes form and this one took a direct hit on our tractor shed, our combines and our storage barns and it pretty much devastated most of our equipment fleet,” Walls said. “We’re just thankful no one was hurt.”

An overwhelming theme among the residents in the area was a sense of thankfulness.

“When I came back to my house and saw all this destruction, I was just grateful that lives were saved,” Hubert said. “Structures and material things can be replaced; they make it every day.”

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