Road to recovery: Residents recall April 27th tornado outbreak - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Road to Recovery: Residents recall April 27th tornado outbreak

Aftermath of April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. Aftermath of April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak.
HARVEST, AL (WAFF) -

Thousands of Alabamians marked the two-year anniversary of the April 27th tornadoes Saturday. It's a day residents in Harvest will never forget.

"The biggest part of that day was that I was unprepared. He's at the front door and he starts screaming, get in the closet. It got quiet and then it was like the whole earth just let loose," said Donnie Wolfram.

"It went on for four or five hours, one round after the other. You never really knew when it was going to be over," said victim Ed Wilbanks.

Despite the weather warnings people were caught off guard, some where even holed up in closets.

"I was hearing my children scream and I couldn't do anything to help them," said victim Anne Remy.

Other victims said they were trapped in their cars.

"The feeling of your car lifting with the wind and skidding with it is very uneasy," recalled Stacey Biggs.

Seven people lost their lives that day in Harvest, countless lost their homes.  

"It was devastating, especially being in this community for so many years, to see the damage that was done," recounted firefighter Chad Conner.

For many residents the rebuilding process is finally finished. But two years later, the Harvest community is still scarred by the devastation.

In many places where homes once stood now sit empty lots, broken concrete and gravel are all that's left where families chose not to rebuild and move on with their lives instead.

"There were trees behind us that are no longer there anymore. A lot has changed since the storms," said Remy.

The road to recovery is a long one, some folks said it will never truly end.

"You take a hit to your psyche in times like that," said Wilbanks.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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