Profile: Helena’s storm of the century

Published 2:12 pm Monday, March 10, 2014

Few scars from the past

Today, Helena boasts a population of more than 17,000, and few marks remain of the 1933 devastation.

“There are very few left who remember the storm,” Penhale said. “Eleanor is the main one, because she was actually in it.”

In the years following the tornado, Paty and her family moved to Birmingham. After moving back to Helena from 1989-1999, Paty and her husband moved to Homewood to be closer to her husband’s physician at Brookwood Medical Center.

“I was real unhappy we had to move,” Paty said. “I love Helena, and I love everyone there.”

To this day, Paty said she counts her blessings every time she remembers the fateful night she and her family were awoken in the middle of the night by the howling winds.

“It really is amazing and a miracle that we walked away from that,” Paty said.