A dangerous and destructive tornado struck the city of Cullman, Alabama at around 3:00 p.m. CDT (2000 UTC). This large, multi-vortex tornado was captured on several TV tower cameras from stations such as Birmingham's Fox affiliate WBRC (channel 6) and ABC affiliate WBMA-LD/WCFT/WJSU (channels 58, 33 and 40). The tornado caused extensive destruction in downtown Cullman, a city of about 20,000 people; the tornado has been rated an EF4. The final damage count was 867 residences and 94 businesses in Cullman. At 4:00 p.m. CDT a tornado struck Lawrence County, Alabama, causing severe damage and killing a couple dozen people. At around 5:10 p.m. CDT (2210 UTC), a very large and ...view middle of the document...
 Also, several small Alabama towns including Hackleburg, Phil Campbell, Rainsville, Harvest, Hueytown, Pleasant Grove, Tanner and Concord suffered catastrophic damage.
A secondary area of severe weather also developed that evening along the Interstate 81 corridor from northern Virginia northward through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York as far north as northern New York and continued into early April 28. Many tornadoes touched down in this area as well, although most were weak.
￼Map of all tornado (red), severe thunderstorm (yellow), and flood (green) warnings issued on April 27.
A statewide review by emergency management officials recorded 249 fatalities in Alabama. Damage and power outages in the Huntsville area were so widespread that at one point over 650,000 people were out of power in the TVA system. Severe tornado damage, including 22 deaths, also occurred in Ringgold, Apison and Cleveland due to a violent and long track EF4 tornado. Another violent and deadly tornado struck the town of Ohatchee, where a destructive EF4 destroyed many homes and killed 22 people. Other notable destructive and deadly tornadoes occurred that day in and around the towns of New Wren, Enterprise, Cordova, Trenton, Dadeville, New Harmony, Sawyerville, and Camp Creek. Tornado alerts were issued for Southern Ontario as far north as Ottawa; one tornado was later confirmed at Fergus.
The SPC shows 260 tornadoes were reported in the preceding 24 hours. It also broke the record for most tornadoes in 24 hours with 206 in the United States from midnight to midnight CDT (62 of which were in Alabama and 67 of which were in Tennessee), breaking the 24-hour record of 147 (in both totals, excluding confirmed tornadoes outside the United States that were part of the outbreak) set by the 1974 Super Outbreak.
The physical needs created by a disaster—for food and shelter—are relatively straightforward. But as entire communities deal with what nature has wrought, getting back a sense of security and stability may be an even greater battle.
On Friday night, more than 1100 people spent the night in American Red Cross shelters across multiple states, including more than 700 in hard-hit Alabama.
In addition to giving people a safe place to stay, the Red Cross will have more than 115,000 ready-to-eat meals and thousands of relief supply items to distribute in Alabama over the next three days. The Red Cross has 61 emergency response vehicles in the state that will be traveling through neighborhoods to help residents.
Behind these large aggregate numbers are individuals whose world has been turned upside down and who are seeking to put their lives back together again. Here are some of their stories.
Searching for Pieces of a Former LifeIn Tuscaloosa, Ala., Ashla Sullivan, 26, says that she and her husband do not have a plan right now, but they know that they're homeless. "I'm still numb," Sullivan says while picking through the rubble, looking for wedding...