‘God is real’: Couple glad to be safe after damage from Chelsea tornado

Published 11:33 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

CHELSEA – Sitting in a back bedroom of her and her husband’s house, Dale Parker sat watching the news, while her husband was a room away when all of a sudden the sound hit.

“It got loud, and I said, ‘That doesn’t sound right,’” Dale said of a tornado that barreled toward their house in Chelsea on Wednesday night, March 30. “Then, it got louder and louder and louder.”

With no tornado warning yet, both Dale and her husband Chadd sat in the two rooms unfazed until that loud train-like noise barreled over their home, taking down trees, a shed in the back, a large portion of their roof and powerlines as it paved a path northeast causing damage in other areas as well.

The room Dale was sitting in had the roof blown off the top with her inside, while the couples’ fireplace was sucked out from the wind, the center portion of the house lost the roof and a tree fell puncturing a hole in the garage, also causing damage to several beams.

“The beams are snapped inside the garage,” Chadd said. “I’m worried if I put the doors up, it will just collapse.”

Despite the damage to the home, both were safe, something both credited to God.

After the storm passed, Dale immediately thought of her front porch.

She cleared the porch earlier in the day due to the gusty winds, but she forgot one item—a cross hanging on the brick just to the right of their front door.

As she walked out onto the front porch, she looked to her left, and saw the cross still hanging, just under the main area of the roof that was blown off and across the street.

“I know God is real,” she said. “I had some other things out here, but I forgot about the cross until after the storm had passed. I thought to myself that it had probably blown away, but I came out with a flashlight and it was still there. By the grace of God.”

Chadd joked that the debris-soaked front porch spattered with insulation was clean enough to eat off of a day earlier.

The couple also had a 13-year-old dog that was outside at the time and got loose across the street, but eventually found its way back home.

Chadd said the dog, which he acknowledged was the best pet he has ever owned, was still shaken up, but was miraculously alright.

The storm caught many by surprise, hitting right around midnight with no warning until it was on top of most of the affected areas.

The Parkers live near the intersection of County Road 333 and County Road 47, which was one of the hardest-hit areas.

The storm started near Chelsea Farms off County Road 69, continued to the northeast crossing over 333 and 47, eventually causing more damage near County Road 49, Spring Branch Road, Spring Loop Road and County Road 32 before lifting off the ground ahead of County Road 447 and the Chelsea Park area.

The National Weather Service out of Birmingham is surveying the damage across the county to determine the severity and strength of the tornado.

There have been no reported serious injuries from the tornado, but there has been damage to several structures and homes throughout the path, while trees were snapped in half or blown completely over littered with debris.