Awoke to disturbing news this Sunday morning. A massive outbreak of tornadoes that may have killed more than 100 people across six states struck where Amy and I lived until 1981 and where too many of her relatives have homes and businesses.
As happens when major storms hit an area, communication is disrupted and we cannot find out if those who know are safe. At least six died when one of those tornadoes destroyed an Amazon Fulfillment Center at Edwardsville, Illinois, the county seat of Madison County.
Amy’s college alma mater is Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and I worked out of the county seat bureau for several of my years as a reporter and photographer for The Telegraph in nearby Alton, our home until we left when we moved to the Washington, DC, area 40 years ago.
Many of Amy’s relatives live in and around Belleville, Illinois, which was in the path of the tornadoes that swept across parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Emails received this morning reported most are safe but we are still awaiting word on others.
My 12 years in Alton, Madison County, and the St. Louis area led me to photograph and cover too many tornadoes. Too often, the destruction they left was massive and deadly. Reports of the storm that struck the Midwest Saturday say debris was sent 30,000 feet into the air. A few years ago, we saw some of that power off Interstate 81 near Abingdon where such storms lifted loaded tractor-trailers off a truck stop parking lot and deposited them on the other side of the four-lane highway.
We will keep hoping and praying that those we know and love are safe and offer condolences to those who lost loved ones and friends.