Beautiful Things Come from Our Brokenness: Kim Cross and James Spann

So there is a day that will stay in my mind until the day I die because it's the day I really realized that nothing is guaranteed forever. For other Alabamians they know all about April 27th, 2011 as well.

The April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak was the largest and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks ever recorded, affecting the Southern, Midwestern, and Northeastern states. The details are still with me to this day. The details of surviving a tornado, as it literally knocks down the building where you are and live to tell the tale, is one that my father and four friends of mine can tell you about. Trains, construction, and mere thunderstorms scare them.

Last night at the "Beautiful Things Come from Our Brokenness" Kim Cross, author of What Stands in a Storm spoke to a panel of the characters the non-fiction novel. She each had them tell their stories of that day. From John Oldhue, DCH Disaster Coordinator, Andrew Lee,  rescuer Adam Watley, survivor Chelsea Thrash, and student Kelli Arthur came different perspectives of the that day in Tuscaloosa, Alabama history. The stories of surviving chasing the tornado so that others might take cover (which is actually what storm chaser, the real ones, do), to watching pick-up truck loads of injured people, to being the first person to see the destruction after the tornado, to being hurt and told they would never be able to walk again (she can!) and to suffering survivor's guilt because all of her roommates perished that night.

I am not going to go into full details of their stories because Kim Cross does a fantastic job of that herself in her novel! I read it after purchasing at the "Beautiful Things Come from Our Brokenness" book and stories. This book is one that I really enjoy and I hope you will take the time to read it as well.

James Spann, chief meteorologist for ABC 33/40 for Birmingham, Alabama, also attended and spoke very passionately about how to make sure that next rounds of storms aren't as deadly. Cry wolf syndrome is one of the things that people have a hard time dealing with especially people my age. It's aggravating when we are limited for time to do something and Spann is telling us to get to the safe place, lowest floor, away from windows and doors.

Another thing is people who depend on weather sirens. I strongly recommend never saying that to James Spann. Half the time people can't hear them or they don't work. I strongly suggest getting a weather radio because they will alert you (trust me they will almost wake the dead.) Or get a James Spann recommended weather apps if you have a smartphone; Radarscope, WeatherRadio for IOS, WeatherRadio for Android, and MyWarn.

If you are looking for a random act of kindness give someone who can't afford or isn't able to purchase a weather radio! This may seem like an odd gift but give them one and the batteries for it. Help them set it up for their area and it will be an amazing gesture to them. Here are the best reviewed and rated weather radios from cheapest to expensive.

Midland WR120EZ NOAA Weather Alert

American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA

Sangean CL-100 Table-Top

Ambient Weather WR-111B

Be weather aware! I know that sometimes it seems like you just wasted your time, but be ready and have a plan and it won't seem like a waste of your time. You don't want to be worried about your pets, your special documents, and you family if severe weather does strike.


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