In 2011, the month of May clearly belongs to the tornadoes. After separate storms ripped through parts of Alabama and Missouri, leaving a massive trail of destruction in their paths, the nation was reminded in no uncertain terms just how powerful these weather events really are. The response to these disasters has been quite swift, even on a federal government level, as communities in the stricken towns work to get back on their collective feet.
While the destruction was indeed a sobering reminder of the powerful abilities of tornadoes, the events also produced some amazing imagery. Granted, most of these images are at the expense of another person’s suffering, and with that in mind, this follow-up article has absolutely no disrespect intended for those whose lives were damaged or destroyed by these twisters. That being said, it’s almost impossible to ignore the eye-catching qualities these post-tornado images have. In fact, many of these images are, from this writer’s humble perspective, Pulitzer worthy pieces.
Perhaps the most “famous” of this new crop of disaster images was the before and after comparison, which hit the Intertubes earlier this week. Thanks to some amazing photography from Aaron Furman’s Flickr account, we can compare what certain areas of Joplin, Missouri looked like before and after the tornado strike hit. The after pictures are sobering.
And then there’s this amazing comparison over at the Mail Online, with the caption of “The six-block scar,” perhaps the most accurate image description, ever.
Over at BuzzFeed, they also have a collection of high-end aftermath pictures, one of which leads this article. While the majority of the images are heart-wrenching and powerful, at least one shows the relief and happiness that can occur from surviving such an ordeal:
And then, there are the videos. A lot of videos in fact, as mobile devices of many makes and models captured the destruction for all to see. Perhaps the most viewed comes from YouTube user izelsg, and it’s a first-person perspective of being caught inside a store while an F5 tornado hits. The images aren’t great, but the audio tells one hell of a story.
From izelsg’s description:
The video i took of the F5 tornado while at Fastrip on east 20th street. We huddled in the back of the store until the glass got sucked out , then ran into the walk in storage fridge. Sorry for the lack of visuals but the audio is pretty telling of how intense the storm was. The tornado hits at around 1:20 seconds.
There’s also an aftermath video, also taken by izelsg, which revisits the store in question:
And these are just two videos of an ever-growing amount, most of which capture the events in Joplin amazingly well. An example:
These are just Joplin videos. While the state of Oklahoma didn’t suffer the damage of Alabama and Missouri, there’s an incredible video of a tractor-trailer getting absolutely decimated by a funnel cloud:
And then there’s this incredibly cry-worthy story of the dog who found his way back home after the Alabama tornadoes tore through the state. Oh, the dog made it back home with TWO broken legs. You might want to grab your tissues before watching:
All I can say after that is “Mason 4 President!!!!!!!”
So while the violence of tornadoes can absolutely wreck anything in its path, the aftermath, while often brutal, also shows our capacity for kindness, qualities people thanfully still carry around with them.