Saddened to see these incredible images- I lived in Tuscaloosa for 9 years so I know the city well.
As far as I know, most of my friends are accounted for and I am very thankful for that. The videos I am seeing on Facebook and Youtube are both shocking and terrifying. I have had some friends tell me some pretty crazy things (destruction and death wise), as well as the emotional toll it is taking- do not underestimate the power of a disaster to inflict shock.
One point I want to make for what it is worth: It is natural to panic, or be overwhelmed with disbelief when disasters of these magnitudes strike. You will see destruction, sorrow, maybe even death and it can really mess with your thought processes, and can cause you to “freeze up” mentally and/or physically. (Meaning you cannot really think or move). I have experienced this first hand. That said, you have to find a way to disconnect emotionally from what you are seeing and get your mind back in the game to focus on the task at hand. I prefer to pretend what I am seeing is not real and for the most part it works for me. Once I am able to disconnect to a degree emotionally from what I am seeing, my thought processes seem to return to normal for the most part. I can also tell you that with time and practice, it gets easier to do. Not so much the first time around.
These are some pretty incredible videos- being that they are taking place in the areas where I lived and have friends is just crazy:
Some of my friends have already asked if I am coming to help out.
While we are still in the early stages of hearing how bad it is, this will be one of the worst in terms of recent history. The trend is that initial reports always grow over.
Alabama does have a few really good things going for it in terms of infrastructure and location (not being isolated on an island). My bag IS packed and ready to go as of last week. I am closely watching the news to see if this is something I feel I can help with and if I get that feeling, can leave immediately.