Birmingham, Ala. —
Right now families in Jefferson County are picking up the pieces after their homes were destroyed by a tornado on Christmas.
According to the National Weather Service preliminary reports indicate and EF2 tornado went through the west side of Birmingham. The NWS said the tornado had 130 mile per hour winds.
Saturday people got a first hand look at the damage in daylight.
"I am so grateful that God looked upon us and blessed us to be alive," said Gloria Hardy. Just a couple walls remain of the home Hardy has lived in for 37 years. "It's amazing what a storm can do quickly," said Hardy
Hardy, her daughter, and grandson were at her home on Jefferson Avenue celebrating Christmas when the tornado ripped through. "I was sitting in the chair talking to a friend of mine and all of a sudden my daughter said c'mon lets go in the closet cause the storm is coming and we didn't get any further than to the hall."
A small space between two walls, one now collapsed, is where Hardy and her family survived the tornado. "Stopped right there in the hall, which really was our safe haven," said Hardy.
Chief Scientist Kevin Laws with the NWS Birmingham said Hardy's family isn't the only one that found a safe haven during the storm. "There have been homes that were completely destroyed with people in them and they obviously got very lucky but for the most part we've only seen two injuries for the entire event so that is very fortunate for the amount of devastation there is here."
Laws said the tornado didn't travel very far, only about two miles. But it's path was wide, about three quarters of a mile. "Not very long but a lot of devastation in just a small area."
Hardy's family now picks through the devastation trying to salvage what they can. "I have memories but I just praying, I mean that you know we'll come out of it, we'll live through this, we'll live through this."