Tennessee Twisters | Cleveland, TN April 27, 2011 | “It Could Have Been Worse!”


I watched tornadoes form from the front porch of my friend’s house off Dalton Pike in Cleveland, TN Wednesday the 27th of 2011. We didnt exactly know at the time we were watching and I was shooting that they were tornadoes until the news reports came rolling in! Could it really be true that less than 3 miles down the road entire neighborhoods and a gas station were just GONE?

We had no power and our phones, our only connection to the outside world, were dying so when we heard the all clear from the weather radio (EVERYONE should have one of these in their homes!!! NO exceptions!!!) we decided to drive around the subdivision to charge our phones and survey to see if anyone needed help. Thankfully there were a very few trees down but nothing bad that we could see anyways….in the pitch black silent night. I’m a storm lover! I’ve always wanted to chase them, try to understand God’s amazing power through them, and witnessing all I have witnessed through this tragic chain of storms (I lived in Murfreesboro for over 4 years which has at least a tornado siren a week *may be slight exaggeration* and even with the tornado of April 2008 there this was so much worse!) But never so much devastation for one small town, and so many states! The death toll now hover close to 350 from these series of storms that pounded our area, and with so much death and devastation it’d be easy to say “Where was God?” “There cannot be a God….He’d never let something like this happen!” etc… BUT! THERE IS!

An elderly black woman on The Weather Channel today, from Alabama I believe, in a news report was missing since the storms but was reunited with her daughter today and she raised her hands above her head and was just praising the Lord that someone found her and pulled her out of the rubble! The # of dead may seem astounding BUT the # who made it out alive is even more astounding! Many areas (like ours in Cleveland) don’t have sirens, and most homes seemed to have been without power and therefore, unless they happened to have a weather radio that was charged and ready, were literally “in the dark” when the last and most severe storms came through! They had NO warning! PRAISE GOD….It could have been so much worse!

Touring the devastation and dodging debris on the way to help a friend’s mother sort through what was left of her mom’s home brought tears to my eyes! When we finally arrived in her neighborhood I slowly made my way around the back side of her home and I saw something that reminded me how just AMAZING our God is….a rose bush was untouched! Seriously! I just marveled at the sight! Not 10 feet away was a SPLINTERED Power Pole and trees that had been snapped off like a toothpick….but yet this rose bush remained…Pink and B.E.A.UTIFUL!!! I love the picture….of the sheer destruction behind it and this delicate flower still stands! A testament to the will of the people who survived! We will go on! We will spread beauty in to this world not matter how dire and hopeless it seems….because if a rose can weather a tornado with its petals intact….SO CAN WE! God reminded me of this that dreary morning….and when the dark clouds and sprinkles left and traded for BRIGHT BLUE SKY and puffy white clouds in the afternoon I was reminded yet again….there’s ALWAYS unparalleled beauty after the storm! Like a forest burned new growth bursts forth and before long the ugliness of the fire is forgotten….emotional and physical scars will heal, and as someone said in an interview after the storms ended “if you survived this you can survive anything!”

These images will show the unbelievable power of a storm, but more so, when you see that one house was missed in the midst of others that were totally demolished, that in this world somethings just cannot and will never be explained! You just have to have faith and let God see you through! Never question His will, just look for the beauty after the rain and the triumphs after the pain! Now….Go help your friends and neighbors! Hug them, love them, pray with them, ask them what they need or even better look around and see what they need and take it to them! We have a chance to truly be Jesus to the world…let’s not miss it!

****Please note: NEGATIVE or profane comments WILL be removed! This is meant to be an uplifting post, nothing more!****

One of the 1st tornadoes that came thru was just on the otherside of those trees!
I love this photo! I love lightning!
Now that's a HOT streak of Lightning! Just beautiful, raw, power!
The morning after the worst storms most of us have ever seen....came a beautiful sun rise with glorious rays shooting through the crack in the clouds! That'll preach!
Old Glory weathered the storm! The house behind her was leveled, but the old girl looked good as new...just displaced!
How this frail Rose Bush remained after the tornadoes that ripped through the Samples/Bates Pike area of Cleveland, TN is beyond my comprehension! Debris and shredded trees and a broken splintered power pole just feet from it on any side...and yet...it remained! I took it as a sign from Jesus in Heaven above that life will continue, we will grow stronger, and there's always beauty after the storm...because if a rose bush can make it...so can we!!!
I loved the way the sign seemed to be a message from God...you just had to stop and wonder at the things that were left and the things that were destroyed....His power and might know no bounds...nor does the beauty He gives us even in the most heartbreaking and tear jerking situations! I just stood here and cried looking at the sky and the devastation around!
For them I have no idea what it may conjure up, or what they were thinking about as mother and daughter sat down to rest on the large downed tree that now resides almost where the front of the house used to sit before a tornado shoved it back 15-20 feet, spun it around and then smashed it, but for me it makes me very thankful for a daughter's persistence on getting her mother to come stay with them, thankful for the clearing weather the day we went to help her, and thankful that life will go on! I believe it's one of the most powerful images I've EVER been able to capture, and I could talk about the clouds, the positioning, the angles, etc... but I will just let it be...a testament to God's protection in a devastating natural disaster....that could have been worse!

And finally last but certainly not least here’s a “video” I created with a lot of the photos I was able to capture Thursday after the storms.  The message I believe is clear… There is a God….because It Could Have Been Worse!

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3 thoughts on “Tennessee Twisters | Cleveland, TN April 27, 2011 | “It Could Have Been Worse!”

  1. wow dear!!! you certainly captured in beautiful images the escence of your words!! these are pictures with soul !!!

    It must have been really scary to be there, take care dear!!

  2. You are an inspiration…simply AMAZING!

    God bless you so that you may continue blessing us.

    Kindest regards,
    MM

  3. I was really blessed by the testamony given in the photos and video. If only everyon would look to the Rose our almighty God they could find the beauty in all things. Ths was a tragic happening for us all . But I thank God that even in tragedies you can still Find and see God. Thanks for sharing.

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