McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 2, 2012

Did boxer named Storm ride Ala. twister?

By Jean Cole
CNHI News Service

ATHENS, Ala. — A boxer named Storm has a great story to tell about the tornado that took him out of his back yard in eastern Limestone County, Ala., Friday morning, but he isn't talking.

Storm was resting safely in his back-yard pen about 9 a.m., when a reported tornado struck the home of Suzanna and Devan Stevens, who were not home at the time. The dog was found uninjured elsewhere in the subdivision by a neighbor. The family believes Storm was picked up by the wind and deposited, but only Storm knows for sure.

The Stevens home and those of other residents on Lisa Drive in this northern Alabama county did not fare as well; many sustained severe damage in at least two reported tornado touchdowns in the area. The twisters were part of a massive storm system that moved across half of the country Friday, sparking tornado watches and warnings across the region.

Limestone County emergency officials are still surveying the damage following the storms, both of which crossed U.S. 72 and tracked northeast shortly after 9.

The Stevens' home lost most of its rear roof, leaving a sky light in the home's living room and rain-soaked debris throughout part of the home. Suzanna, who was at work at the Tennessee Valley Authority when the storm struck, was stunned when she returned home. He eyes filled with tears when she was greeted by a family friend and saw her home in a shambles and its roof torn away.

A few houses down, the Randy and Tina Cooper family were picking up debris around their storm-battered home.

"I was looking at the news (weather radar) and saw the hook going toward Madison," said Tina Cooper, who was doing housework at the time. "I saw stuff flying down out the window."

She ran upstairs to wake her son, Michael, and was calling for him to wake up.

"We were both trying to turn the doorknob of his door at the same time and the door wouldn’t open," she said.

Then the storm passed, leaving their house, including the roof and garage door damaged, but both of them safe.

At the same time, Morgan Cooper, who was safely at East Limestone High School at the time, was trying to send a telephone text message to her mother who did not immediately reply.

"That really scared me," Morgan said.