I first heard the news yesterday morning and called my brother who is up from Alabama visiting the family farm for a week to help put in the crop. It has been too wet so far to do that so mostly we have been hunting mushrooms but that is a post for another day. I called him to see how his wife and kids are since they were among the dozens of red 'tornadoes reported' on the map. He didn't know. They gave up their land line a year ago and now just have cellphones and he couldn't get a call through. Fortunately this evening he finally was able and learned that his wife and kids were alright, just barely.
Evidently the tornado has been coming directly for them but skipped up over about a mile of terrain coming down again about a quarter of a mile past their house at the corner of the road they living on and continuing the path of destruction. Neighbors, friends and more than a few church members are among the dead but my brother's family survived intact. They have an advantage because their house has a basement when most houses in that part of the country are build on a ground level slab. Lots of the deaths are from houses where all that remains is just a slab and they literally had no chance of survival. A basement drastically helps those odds.
So my brother is headed down a day earlier than planned and since there is no running water or electricity and it may be that way for weeks according to local officials, he will be stocking up on bottled water and a generator on the way home. I'm just glad my brother and his family are alive and saddened to know a few of those neighbors whom I met a little over a year ago when I was down there perished. It just goes to show how fragile life is.
It also reinforced my opinion that we who live in the tornado belt, need to get serious about housing. Every house should have a basement or dug in storm shelter. I don't think I would buy a house without one. That is why perhaps in a few years when I might begin the dream of designing and building my own home, I plan on doing it right and building a home that is not only F5 tornado proof, it is also Category 5 hurricane proof and fire proof. It dwarfs houses that are platinum LEED certified in efficiency, very unique, have endless design possibilities without constraints and are pretty dang attractive. I'm not sure why anyone would ever want to live in a fragile house built of sticks when you could live in a monolithic dome.