Remembrance

It wasn't supposed to happen -- not like this. Swarms of tornadoes threw cars and blasted apart homes and neighborhoods. The violence of wave after wave of storms surprised even the veteran meteorologists who, for days, had been sounding warnings about the weather's potential for disaster.

  • April 27th, 2012  |
  • By Pam Sohn  |

Mike and Kayci Glasgow want their little girls to remember. They want 5-year-old Tsavo and 3-and-a-half-year-old Shiloh to remember the big house on Blue Springs Road, which was so much more than a house.

A Doppler weather radar was taken off-line by the storms of April 27, 2011, making accurate reporting for Chattanooga and the surrounding area more difficult.

A year ago, Norma Parris crawled out of a bathroom under the spiral staircase of her Ringgold home.

What 9-year-old North Georgia boy isn't ready for fun at Lake Winnepesaukah?

Some stories from the April 27, 2011, tornadoes fall under the category of “strange but true.” Others “strange and maybe true.” Here’s a collection of such stories. Not all could be confirmed independently, but all are bound to inspire wonder, or maybe a smile.

IDER, Ala. — Valley Head. Mentone. Henegar. Ider. Shiloh. The names march north on the DeKalb County map, up and down the hills of the small communities.

FLAT ROCK, Ala. — Wrapped in a blanket under a blue tarp, Kathy Clure clutched a gun at her side as the sky grew dark. Gripped with fear, Clure tried to calm her mind.

Video: WRCB Video: Relief effort volunteers
April 25, 2012
WRCB Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys introduces volunteers who have kept the storm relief effort going all year.

Volunteers from across the country joined many of you to sort through the devastation and start rebuilding after last year's storms.

On the afternoon of March 2, more than 40 people gathered in the Salvation Army office on Inman Street in Cleveland, Tenn.

There's a not-so-hidden cost to the tornadoes that struck the Southeast on April 27.

PITTS GAP, Tenn. — Every morning they awaken with fresh wounds. Every day it's as if the tornadoes struck just yesterday.

Video: Volunteers help man rebuild home
April 24, 2012
WRCB Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys shows you what the last year has been like for people who lost everything in the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.

"This is the new house the good Lord built me this past year after the storm," Apison resident Arthur Bates proudly shows off his new home, glad to have a place to call his own again.

In Martha Carter’s living room, her 4-year-old great granddaughter looks up from the couch and asks: “Nana do you miss me when I’m gone? Do you cry for me?”

Christie and Mark Higgs sat side by side on the Ringgold High School gym bleachers with matching blue shirts as residents crossed the floor to find a seat. The back of their shirts read: “There’s no place like home.”

John Shelton looked outside at what would be the first tornado to hit the northern end of Bradley County.

On April 27, 2011 an EF-1 and an EF-4 tornado tore through parts of Rhea County. Spring City felt the brunt of the storm.

Tornadoes have no respect for state lines or boundaries; particularly EF-4s. A year later, many scars are still visible off of the I-75 off-ramp in Ringgold. But the healing is well underway.

In Bledsoe County, an EF-4 tornado claimed the lives of four people on April 27, 2011. Residents along New Harmony Road say the still broken trees are a painful, daily reminder of what happened one year ago.

The sights and sounds of progress still resonate in Dade County, Georgia, one year after the historic tornado outbreak.

Catoosa County has few areas as beautiful as Cherokee Valley Road. But no area suffered more during the tornadoes of April 27, 2011.

Thirty years ago, Robert Bethune of Higdon built his dream home, one log at a time. But on April 27, 2011 Robert and his family prayed in a tiny closet as their home was reduced to splinters. The Bethunes have rebuilt, but life will never be the same.

One year later in McMinn County, tree stumps and burn piles riddle the landscape. Those here consider themselves lucky. They know it could have been worse - only one demolished home, no major injuries. But still, April 27th 2011 was a day they'll never forget.

Bradley County Emergency Management Agency Director Troy Spence says wave after wave of storms made it quite difficult to help everyone who needed it.

Last April's storm devastated the Apison area, but in the midst of the loss there were stories of hope. One of those stories comes from three young men dubbed the "bathtub brothers".

"Everything has been pushed away by bulldozers, but it's still so fresh in our minds," said Wendy Ellis, returning to the place her great-grandmother's home used to stand off Clonts Road.

Bradley County looked like a war zone after five tornadoes ripped through the area, killing nine people and injuring nearly 100 on April 27, 2011.

The hail pounded on the patrol car roof. Chief Deputy Mike Edmondson gripped the steering wheel tighter as the wind tried to force him off the road in DeKalb County, Ala. Leaves, grass and insulation swirled around the windows as he sped south across state Highway 75.

PITTS GAP, Tenn. -- Except for splintered wood that's weathered gray, the landscape atop Brayton Mountain looks like the EF4 twister that claimed four lives just passed through. It's been almost a year.

Pitts Gap Church of God pastor Leroy Smith knows most of the folks on Brayton Mountain, usually as neighbors, by passing acquaintance or through his church.

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April 23, 2012
WRCB's Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys shares the emotional ...

COLLEGEDALE - Dave Burgess, Perry Collins and Joe Greenleaf are corporals with the Collegedale Police Department. On April 27, 2011 they were in the middle of the tornado that left the Apison community in shambles.

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