After the devastating tornado sparks in Tallahassee, the affected families have to cut down more trees – The Famuan

Photo of the Love Family residence where the master bedroom and vehicles were damaged. Courtesy of Asia Moore

On Friday, May 10, Tallahassee was hit by a catastrophic tornado, leaving a trail of devastation and tragedy in its wake. The storm, which struck without warning, caused extensive damage in Leon and Gadsden counties.

The scale of the disaster is reminiscent of hurricanes. Leon County officials estimate it will take “some time” to get an estimated 70,000 people back on the power grid. Myers Park and Indianhead Acres, two of Tallahassee's most heavily wooded neighborhoods, suffered the brunt of the storm's impact, with residents virtually buried under fallen tree trunks.

Amid the chaos and destruction caused by the recent tornado, a local family's harrowing experience serves as a stark reminder of the human toll of natural disasters. Amanda Love, a mother and Tallahassee resident, was at work when she received a terrifying call from her husband, who was home with their 23-year-old daughter and young son when the tornado struck.

“I was devastated because I couldn’t escape. As soon as I walked into my workplace building, the storms came out of nowhere,” Love said.

“As soon as he [my husband] At that moment, as he explained to me that the storm was approaching, I could hear something loud over the phone in addition to his voice. Something was going on.”

Love's daughter, 23-year-old Denia Love, said she woke up to loud noises coming from outside and immediately moved her child to a safe place in the house.

“I got up, looked outside and saw the tornado. So I got my baby out of bed and we ran into the hallway and I heard all the trees falling,” Denia said.

“I was so paranoid and scared. I thought the trees were going to collapse the roof, so I just kept running back and forth, up and down the hall, thinking it might [the tree] would have fallen and the roof would have been with it. We were in the hallway for a good ten minutes.”

The Love family home was not spared from the wrath of the tornado. Trees fell on their home, destroying the master bedroom, destroying all of their vehicles and trapping them inside. According to Amanda Love's mother-in-law, Sandra Love, her own home also suffered severe damage from the storm. She also described how scary it was for parents to take their children to school when the storm hit.

“We have had no warning about going to school, none at all. I don't know if they knew how bad it was going to be, but the kids were still allowed to go to school and that really made a difference to me because they're kids,” Sandra said.

Photo of a resident's home on Trapnell Street, Tallahassee. Courtesy of Asia Moore

“Knowing that some kids were standing on the corner of my street and they were still out there waiting for the bus. My neighbor said that as soon as her son and the other children got on the bus, they had to pull over to the side of the road because the storm came out of nowhere. And the way it hit here, I’m surprised our houses are still standing.”

Looking back on their experiences, the Love family advocates for greater action to prevent similar tragedies in the future. They believe the city should consider removing more trees from forestry neighborhoods and communities since the majority of the damage they have sustained was caused by massive tree falls. According to the Loves, much of the destruction of their home could have been avoided if they had been able to remove the trees around their property.

Their call for action resonates with many in Tallahassee, where the tornado's aftermath has sparked discussions about improving disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts.

The impact on education was profound: schools across the city were forced to close due to the destruction. Florida A&M University (FAMU) in particular suffered significant damage, prompting President Larry Robinson to declare a state of emergency. At least 15 buildings on the FAMU campus, including the Grand Ballroom and Banneker Buildings, sustained roof and water damage, affecting normal operations.

Anna Harden

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