72 known dead, many missing

4-27-11 Tornado Tuscaloosa, Al from Crimson Tide Productions on Vimeo.

Massive natural disasters like this are only one reason why it’s a really stupid idea to have a national spending cap, or to cut government services. The federal government will step in (as it should) with all kinds of aid to help the victims of this huge disaster, and it’s going to cost money — which, as tea lovers like to point out, doesn’t grow on trees. This is why we don’t cut FEMA, or aid to first responders, or highway crews, or any of the hundreds of necessary services that are on the chopping block right this minute — because when you need them, you really need them:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— A wave of tornado-spawning storms strafed the South on Wednesday, splintering buildings across hard-hit Alabama and killing 72 people in four states.

At least 58 people died in Alabama alone, including 15 or more when a massive tornado devastated Tuscaloosa. The city’s mayor said sections of the city that’s home to the University of Alabama have been destroyed and the city’s infrastructure is devastated.

Eleven deaths were reported in Mississippi, two in Georgia and one in Tennessee.

News footage showed paramedics lifting a child out of a flattened Tuscaloosa home, with many neighboring buildings in the city of more than 83,000 also reduced to rubble. A hospital there said its emergency room had admitted at least 100 people.

“What we faced today was massive damage on a scale we have not seen in Tuscaloosa in quite some time,” Mayor Walter Maddox told reporters, adding that he expected his city’s death toll to rise.

The storm system spread destruction Tuesday night and Wednesday from Texas to Georgia, and it was forecast to hit the Carolinas next and then move further northeast.

Around Tuscaloosa, traffic was snarled Wednesday night by downed trees and power lines, and some drivers abandoned their cars in medians. University officials said there didn’t appear to be significant damage on campus, and it was using its student recreation center as a shelter.

Maddox said authorities were having trouble communicating, and 1,400 National Guard soldiers were being deployed around the state.

2 thoughts on “72 known dead, many missing

  1. I live west of Atlanta towards the AL border. It was a truly frightening night. Tornadoes don’t play in the South. You can’t see them here, only hear them and then it is too late. My county has a fantastic county wide early warning siren system. Also, the county has a warning system that will robo call your house or cell phone. When the floods came a few years back, I received a message not to drink the water from the faucet because it may have been contaminated. That was great because we lost power and didn’t have access to any media. I don’t mind paying my property taxes here, we have a well managed county with great services and all. And the funny thing is that political parties don’t really matter in our local politics. The leaders get elected because they are not STUPID and do a good job for the county.

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