When the average person imagines a devastating storm, they likely think of the Midwestern states that make up a region known as Tornado Alley. However, one of the nation’s latest natural disasters took place in a far more southern state: on Saturday, April 25, the majority of Alabama’s Houston County was damaged by a savage thunderstorm that damaged thousands of homes and left much of the area in ruins.
The late April storm reportedly hit every part of Houston County, from Columbia to Dothan, with many residents calling it one of the worst events the area has seen. Some families reported hiding in their bathrooms and other areas as trees fell through their roofs, while others say they were lucky to only have their yards destroyed. The aftermath of the storm is believed to have been just as bad: at least one house burned to the ground Sunday, April 26 after power was restored, and a number of other trees also caught fire.
So far, the area has been slow to recover: in the days that followed, a number of power lines were reported hanging in roadways, while tree limbs and other debris could be seen on the sides of the roads and even draped across or through roofs. County officials have reported that cleanup efforts will be ongoing throughout the area, but some have warned residents that pickup efforts could take weeks or even months, as items will need to be sorted and properly disposed. Currently, representatives say residents have until May 15 to get debris on their property to the right of way for workers to pick up.
However, cleaning up the debris won’t be the only problem residents have to face: with the high level of damage the storm caused, many area residents will have to make a variety of repairs, from improving roof support to completely rebuilding their homes. And in many cases, this could be easier said than done. After all, many insurance companies infamously do not include storm damage in their policies, just as many providers will also refuse to cover problems that stem from a worn-out roof or lack of maintenance. What’s more, Houston County residents will also have to find reputable roofing companies and other contractors to successfully fix the damage. With these challenges ahead, the road to recovery will surely be a long one.