There are simply no words. No words to explain the hurt here in Alabama after Wednesday's tornado outbreak.
In Tuscaloosa, I have friends who are homeless. A new initiate of my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, was killed, and another sorority member remains in the hospital. One of my husband's groomsmen had the tornado track through his backyard, but luckily -- his house stands.
And it's not just Tuscaloosa. That same tornado tracked to the northeast and at one point was aimed straight at our house. Instead, it veered north and struck western Jefferson County and areas just north of Birmingham.
Other tornadoes struck, too. From Elmore County near Montgomery to the south, to Huntsville and Dekalb County to the north, and all points in between, the tornadoes raked across Alabama and the Southeast like fingernails on a chalkboard.
My home, my family, my dog, my place of work -- they were all spared. I was lucky. But many were not.
Alabama is hurting. But there are many ways you can help:
1. Donate money and goods. Connect with your local Red Cross chapter to see what is needed.
2. Give blood.
3. Volunteer. Call 2-1-1 in Alabama or toll-free 1-888-421-1266.
- From Christie Dedman of The Birmingham News: How you can help victims of Wednesday's deadly storms
- Toomer's for Tuscaloosa - A relief effort started by Auburn fans. On Facebook and Twitter.
- Gamma Phi Beta Relief Fund information
- Red Cross - Mid Alabama Region
- And here's full coverage of the tornadoes and relief work from al.com.