Andy’s Hudson recalls tornado

Published 12:01 am Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last Wednesday morning was like any other day for Andalusia’s Melita Hudson.

She awoke, got dressed and went to class at the University of Alabama, but it certainly didn’t end the way she’d planned.


“I am supposed to go to class from 11 to 5,” she said. “But they cancelled class. It was dark and windy. I got home about 1:30 or 2. The sirens were going off, but then they stopped.”

Hudson said she cooked lunch, settled in to relax and watch TV for a bit at her Hargrove Road apartment, which is located between 10th Avenue and McFarland Boulevard in Tuscaloosa.

“(Forecasters) said the weather was going to miss us, so I wasn’t worried,” she said. “I sat in my living room watching television for a while, then I got up and went into my bedroom. It felt really weird, so I went to the window and looked out and saw the tornado coming.”

Hudson said she got in the closet and rode out the EF-4 tornado.

“It was so loud, I couldn’t hear myself yell,” she said. “When I got in the closet, I was sitting, but when it was over, I was standing. It felt like our apartment was being lifted and dropped. Everyone said they felt it. It’s like on that ride ‘Twister’ at Universal Studios at the end you drop, that’s exactly how it was.”

When the storm had passed, Hudson said she walked outside, but had to move debris to get out. When she opened the door, she found utter devastation.

“I saw the tornado in the background,” she said. “I could hear gas going off, sirens and helicopters. There were trees uprooted everywhere. All of our cars were messed up. There was wood in my car, and I have no idea where it came from. There was a Jeep that was picked up and sat in a tree. The whole neighborhood is unrecognizable. There were huge 100-year-old trees laying everywhere.”

Down the road, Hudson said there is government housing, where she heard that a baby was sucked out of its mother’s arms, but the mother was able to get him back.

“There were kids with dirt and grass all over them,” she said.

Hudson said there was no warning of the approaching tornado.

“No sirens. No rain. It wasn’t like you would think, she said. “We actually found the siren later. It was destroyed. While I was watching TV, the government housing was being destroyed.

After the storm subsided, Hudson said she ran to check on her friends, who luckily, escaped physical injury. Instead, the only casualties in her immediate circle were a few personal vehicles, she said.

And as one would imagine, it will take Hudson a while to recover from the tornado. Her car is a total loss, but her apartment isn’t. The ceiling is cracked, and there are pipes sticking up in the floor. And she her cats are missing as well.

Hudson said she’s very fortunate.

“If I had been 2 feet over, I could have died,” she said. “The other side of the apartments is gone. It was the darkest dark ever, and all you could smell was gas.

“If I would have been in class until 5, I would have been on the street when it hit,” she said.

Hudson said everyone was in shock.

“We couldn’t function,” she said. “(Monday) night was the first night I slept all night, and even then, it took me three hours to fall asleep.”

Hudson is a 2007 graduate of Andalusia High School, majoring in interior design.