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It Has Been Three Years To the Day

By Elton Camp April 26, 2011 is etched into memory The weather forecast unusually dire Widespread risk of strong tornadoes Often untrue so not taken seriously May e somewhere out in Oklahoma !ut surely not here in north Ala ama "uch happens to unknown people #n some risky, tornado$alley state Oh, we ha%e twisters here indeed &or trees, arns and house trailers 'arm is done to in%isi le people Weeks later, no e%idence remains That terrifying April was far different (ark, menacing wall clouds all around "trange warmth and stillness in the air )%en familiar songs of irds missing !laring of the tornado alarms egan The weather radio added its own alert A tornado warning urgently announced "potted y trained ground o ser%ers *ot some hook echo on radar Meaning little or nothing real 'ackle urg has een lown away 'omes, stores, school, the factory A direct hit on the downtown A small town fore%er changed #t+s still on the mo%e, grinding along The town of ,hil -amp ell lies ahead

Another community de%astated )ntire families instantly erased Aged teacher and her mother killed )%en young children wiped away Animals lay dead in pastures Only house foundations remain Another school ecame ruins ,eople screamed in dismay On and on the monster went Through the open countryside (e%astation more diffuse Although not to those it hit Many other places suffered that day This was, to us, fifteen miles away Three years ha%e now passed 'ere it comes again, they say .arge, slow$mo%ing and dynamic "trong winds, hail and tornadoes A forecast not lightly issued The weather authorities say (on+t allow it to alarm you !ut you may e lown away /This descri es an e%ent that is entirely true0 The town where we li%e was unaffected, ut a mere fifteen miles down the highway, death and destruction was e%erywhere at the hit of a rare )& 1 tornado0 O %ious e%idence of the de%astation remains to the present0 With the dire forecast, we dro%e out to ,hil -amp ell for a look0 !are foundations are e%erywhere and houses damaged eyond repair ut still standing0 &amiliar roads are almost unrecogni2a le0 The new high school is approaching completion and some new homes constructed0 !ut many left the area ne%er to return0 A small park and monument notes the names of those killed on that horri le day three years ago0 What will happen this time3 ,erhaps nothing as we fer%ently hope0 Watch for us on the national news, ut hope that we don+t appear4 The de%eloping situation is, howe%er, remarka ly similar to that of 201105