From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — April 27, 2011, will forever be a day in the memory of Alabamians. This year, as we remember that tragic day 10 years ago, Governor Kay Ivey encourages all citizens to reflect.
There were 216 tornados that day in the U.S. 62 of those were in Alabama. In our state, 252 people were killed and 2,219 injured. In all, 348 people lost their lives in six states.
As meteorologists watched live feeds from towers in Tuscaloosa, they witnessed a massive tornado ripping through the city knowing lives were being taken. They remained on-air for hours that day covering one devastating tornado after another, working to warn Alabamians and save lives.
The skies eventually cleared and what was left behind haunts first responders to this day. Entire neighborhoods were leveled and debris was strewn for miles. In some cases, photos and family heirlooms were found counties away. The quiet calm that followed was the start to a recovery that would take years.
In the years following, communities came together to recover. The Governor’s Emergency Fund was established in 2011 and has “since played a vital role in funding community safe rooms and upgrading our emergency warning systems to alert citizens to dangerous weather,” Ivey said.
This year, the governor signed a proclamation stating that April 27, 2021, will be a Day of Remembrance.
“I encourage all citizens to reflect upon the memory of those who were lost throughout the communities across our state,” the proclamation says.
The city of Tuscaloosa recently installed three new memorial plaques along the path of the tornado that hit there. The plaques honor first responders and volunteers and memorialize those who lost their lives that day.
The National Weather Service has launched a new website with data, stories and content from the catastrophic weather event. You can watch the “In Memoriam” video below.