Even more miraculous one year later

Published 3:50 pm Sunday, March 27, 2022

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Looking through pictures one year later of the two tornadoes that ravaged Shelby County on March 25, 2021, it became even more evident what a miracle it was that there were no deaths in Shelby County.

Not only were there two tornadoes in two populated areas of the county, but they were eventually declared EF3 tornadoes.

In their paths were some of the most populated areas in the county, including the north Shelby area near Oak Mountain, Calera, Helena, Hoover, Pelham and Columbiana.

The storm snapped trees in half, ripped houses from their foundations and threw cars around like a ball.

Yet, no one died from the devastating day.

Property was destroyed and people were left picking up the pieces of a tragic day, but lives were salvaged.

Perhaps as remarkable as any story was the survival of George and Gayle Nix.

The two, who live on a farm on the outskirts of Columbiana, were thrown 100 yards with their home. The home was shredded like mulch, but the couple miraculously survived.

Gayle spent just more than a week in the hospital with a few broken ribs, a fractured back and other injuries, while George has been in and out of the hospital for the past year in what has been a trying time.

The two, however, are now as healthy as they’ve been since the tragic day, while they just recently got a new home set up on the property that was destroyed a year ago.

It was a miraculous survival story and one that featured the backing of family, friends, the community and organizations both in and outside of the state.

The same can be said for houses in Eagle Point and along Alabama 119 in the northern portion of the county.

One of the most populated areas of Shelby County, some of the worst destruction occurred with that tornado that came through first that day.

Houses were destroyed, including a few that collapsed to the ground with people inside, while the landscape of the area forever changed the serene views of Oak Mountain, almost like a signature from the storm.

But it’s also a reminder of just how fortunate many were to not only survive the storm, but have the community support they had.

The second the storms passed through, neighbors across Shelby County stepped up to help with cleanup and donations during a difficult time.

As powerful as the storms were, the power of what happened following the storms a year ago, from the survivals to the community support, was much stronger.