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What Stands in a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the…

by Kim Cross

Other authors: Rick Bragg (Foreword)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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11812200,334 (4.41)3
April 27, 2011 marked the climax of a superstorm that saw a record 358 tornadoes rip through twenty-one states in three days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes. It was the deadliest day of the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history, which saw 348 people killed, entire neighborhoods erased, and $11 billion in damage. But from the terrible destruction emerged everyday heroes, neighbors, and strangers who rescued each other from hell on earth. With powerful emotion and gripping detail, Kim Cross weaves together the heart-wrenching stories of several characters-including three college students, a celebrity weatherman, and a team of hard-hit rescuers-to create a nail-biting chronicle in the Tornado Alley of America. No, it's not Oklahoma or Kansas; it's Alabama, where there are more tornado fatalities than anywhere in the U.S., where the trees and hills obscure the storms until they're bearing down upon you. For some, it's a story of survival, and for others it's the story of their last hours.… (more)
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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Reads like a novel. Might have been better to read it in the winter. Big storms are going to give me the jumps for awhile. ( )
  tsmom1219 | Feb 24, 2022 |
April 27, 2011, became the deadliest day of the biggest tornado out- break in the history of recorded weather. It was the climax of a super- storm that unleashed terror upon twenty-one states—from Texas to New York—in three days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes. Entire communities were flattened, whole neighborhoods erased, in seconds, by the wind.

[a:Kim Cross|14143573|Kim Cross|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1436988925p2/14143573.jpg]'s debut book tells the story of 62 tornados that landed in Alabama on April 27,2011. Her writing is flawless, her research deep. She tells the story not only of the storms, but the victims before the storm and after. It is emotional and gut-wrenching. I read a lot of non-fiction and this is probably one of the best narrative non-fictions I have ever read. ( )
  JBroda | Sep 24, 2021 |
Great writing, but gut-wrenching story of the true events surrounding this historic tornado outbreak in Alabama. ( )
  Shofbrook | Nov 6, 2020 |
If you are fascinated by the power of Mother Nature as displayed in tornadoes you need to read this book. It’s nonfiction, but the plot tells the stories of those who witnessed the events and in doing so brought me to tears several times. ( )
  Mrs.DuBois | Apr 1, 2020 |
I heard about this book from a podcast I listened to recently, entitled 'Tornado Talk'. I thought it sounded interesting and decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised by one of the best books I've ever had the privilege of reading.

Slowly laying out a story that the author claimed "needed to be told", Ms. Cross has put together a book unlike any other I have read among similar genres. This book focuses on what has been called the worst tornado outbreak this country has ever experienced (4/27/11), surpassing even the infamous "Super Outbreak" (4/3/74). I was very, very impressed with the amount of research done, making the science understandable and basic, yet not oversimplified for laymen purposes as is found in so many other similar publications.

It is here that Ms. Cross begins to bring the human stories into the developing dangerous situation: a woman and her budding meteorologist-to-be son in Smithville, Mississippi; an experienced meteorologist in Birmingham who would spend literally all day in front of the cameras saving countless lives with his repeated warnings; college students in Tuscaloosa preparing in various ways for the worsening weather; a family in Cordova, Alabama frantically trying to survive. I bring these examples up because this may be the most ingenious way I've ever seen an author combine these stories with the scientific explanation of how that fateful day unfolded. The tension is palpable; the dread is real, and when the worst finally happens, the stories are really only beginning.

The second part of the book deals with the aftermath of the devastation. It is no less tense than the first part, but along with that it becomes literally, emotionally gut wrenching in parts. No spoilers, but I must mention the part of a particular search and rescue worker who volunteers her services along with her search dogs that literally had me bawling.

Whew.....Ms. Cross then does an outstanding job of slowly bringing hope back into the situation: descriptions of emergency rescue personnel along with other heroes, hundreds if not thousands of volunteers descending on Tuscaloosa to help any way they could, emotional reunions of victims with their rescuers, and people slowly getting on with their lives with hope for the future while dealing with the constant but receding pain.

Highly recommended....well done, Kim Cross, a truly magnificent effort. ( )
  utbw42 | May 14, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kim Crossprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bragg, RickForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brunjes, TracyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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April 27, 2011 marked the climax of a superstorm that saw a record 358 tornadoes rip through twenty-one states in three days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes. It was the deadliest day of the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history, which saw 348 people killed, entire neighborhoods erased, and $11 billion in damage. But from the terrible destruction emerged everyday heroes, neighbors, and strangers who rescued each other from hell on earth. With powerful emotion and gripping detail, Kim Cross weaves together the heart-wrenching stories of several characters-including three college students, a celebrity weatherman, and a team of hard-hit rescuers-to create a nail-biting chronicle in the Tornado Alley of America. No, it's not Oklahoma or Kansas; it's Alabama, where there are more tornado fatalities than anywhere in the U.S., where the trees and hills obscure the storms until they're bearing down upon you. For some, it's a story of survival, and for others it's the story of their last hours.

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