Tallapoosa County Sheriff recounts April 27th

Tallapoosa County Sheriff recounts April 27th
(Source: WSFA 12 News File Photo) Lake Martin

LAKE MARTIN, AL (WSFA) - Five years ago today, a monster tornado didn't just strike Tuscaloosa but also Lake Martin in Tallapoosa County. 

Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett has been in law enforcement for more than 40 years. Sheriff Abbett says the April 27th tornado was by far the most trying day of his career. The calls wouldn't stop and to top it off, there was a call that someone died.

Sheriff Abbett credits the volunteers and the outside agencies for helping first responders get through it all.

"We had like 30 plus agencies...mutual aid...no question we couldn't have handled everything without them," said Sheriff Abbett.

For a time back in 2011, Tallapoosa County felt it was the bulls eye for tornadoes. While the April 27th tornado was the most damaging it was actually the second of three tornadoes to go through Tallapoosa County within one year.

"We had one in Eagle Creek following this one with a fatality and we had one prior to this one in Wind Creek," recalled Abbett.

The April 27th storm is the one everyone remembers and for good reasons; it was the biggest, the meanest and the deadliest for the entire state. After it passed a big part of Lake Martin resembled an explosion. Homes were destroyed, there were broken trees impassable roads and one person had died.

An aerial view of the lake shows that it is clean and clear but one thing we noticed on the ground is that not everyone rebuilt.

"It could be too painful, too costly and other various situations," Abbett said.

These days, serenity has replaced the sound of chainsaws and the dogwoods are in full bloom.

"It's bounced back as far as the economy part," sheriff Abbett said.

Bounced back and recovered but not forgetting a solemn reminder nature will always have its way.

"A lot of times we can't believe it happen to this area but it does happen," he said.

252 people died in that day and it was that same storm system that spawned more than 60 tornadoes just in Alabama alone.

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