Published March 03, 2012
Homeowners in Harvest, Alabama can't believe that they are picking up the pieces once again after their homes were ripped apart during a massive nationwide tornado outbreak Saturday.
Many here had just rebuilt or repaired damage from tornadoes that tore through the state on April 27, 2011 -- killing hundreds and causing billions of dollars in damage. Saturday's tornado took almost an identical path as the EF5 twister that leveled homes, destroyed businesses and cleared entire stands of trees just ten months ago here.
Tonya King and Brandon Jackson have spent the last ten months repairing their home and paying off replacement furniture that was destroyed in the April 27 tornado. Today, they are stunned to be back at square one.
"It was devastating to come out and see your house and everything you have is gone. It's something you just don't go through everyday and it just changed your life," Jackson said while standing in his heavily damaged living room. "We thought it was all over and we thought we got through it and here it happens again."
King was home taking care of their two toddlers Saturday morning, when she got a call from a relative, warning about a tornado that was bearing down on them. She had just enough time to gather the kids up and take shelter inside a bathtub before winds started ripping through their house, shattering windows and bringing the roof down around her. It was an eerie repeat of a scene that she and her family had endured last year.
"It's a lot more devastating the second time around," King said. "Because you really didn't have time to get over the first one, it was still so new. We got our house back, and we were planning housewarming parties for our friends who just got into their houses and then you get all this damage all over again. Sometimes it's just really hard."
Vince Thompson lives next door to King and Jackson. His house was so severely damaged on April 27 that it had to be torn down and completely rebuilt again. Just two months after moving into his brand new house, he is once again facing months of repairs after the tornado nearly ripped the roof off.
"It's hard, but I am going to rebuild," Thompson said as he picks up pieces of wood out of his yard. "I would never have gambled that this would have happened again."
Across the street, Brandy Robbins moved back into her house just in time for Christmas. She lived with her mother for the last half of 2011 while crews put her house back together. Today, she is sifting through her belongings and trying to figure out what to do next.
"We had a little warning Wednesday night and I told my cousin lightning is not going to strike twice and then I came home to this," Robbins said standing in front of her home that is once again missing a roof.
The EF2 tornado that hit Harvest packed winds of up to 125 mph. The National Weather Service believes that six separate tornadoes ripped through Northern Alabama yesterday. Seven people were injured and up to 200 homes were either destroyed or suffered major damage.