Prattville – It has been one year since the devastating F3 tornado hit the city of Prattville and the surrounding area. At least 50 people were injured in Autauga County, though, miraculously no one was killed; hundreds of trees were downed, and an estimated 200 homes were ravaged during the twister that left a path of damage 450 yards wide.
The ruins were something akin to the destruction of a war-torn city after being strafed by enemy bombers.
Traffic lights were blown out and police officers were out in force on Cobbs Ford Road, steering vehicles away from shopping centers where debris was strewn and buildings had crumbled.
50-100 businesses were damaged or destroyed, including Wal-Mart which is the largest contributor of sales tax to the city. Cars and trucks were overturned in parking lots. K-Mart as well as three banks sustained extensive damage when winds reached speeds of up to 150 miles an hour. Homes lost phone service and power lines were down.
Hours seemed to have passed during that frightening violent storm, but in reality the entire event only lasted a few minutes. What happened during the next few hours would make anyone proud of the city that they lived in. Our Mayor was quickly on the scene and about 100 State Troopers arrived to set up a command post.
Red Cross workers with bottled water and first aid kits set up their vans in parking lots. The news media gathered and set up shop in the lot next to the Krystal on Cobbs Ford Road. Neighbors began checking on neighbors and unsung heroes ran from their own damaged homes to aid victims trapped inside their cars.
Almost as quickly as the havoc began that stormy Sunday afternoon, the reconstruction started. Volunteers commenced the long, arduous cleanup the very next day. Citizens swept broken glass from the floors of businesses that were hit. Residents aided other homeowners in carrying broken furniture and debris. The cleanup was slow and laborious, but Prattville has proven without a doubt that when disaster strikes its citizens can be counted on to lend their hands and their hearts.
Article by Melissa Parker
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