One Month Later; Prattville Continues Recovery From Tornado

Prattville; One Month Later After Tornado
Prattville; One Month Later After Tornado

By her own admission, Tiffany Cotton used to complain a lot.

"I complained about everything and that was a joke around here," said Cotton.

But not anymore. That habit went out the window one month ago when a powerful F-3 tornado shredded part of her neighborhood in east Prattville on February 17th.

"It seems like it was just yesterday," Cotton said.

Cotton and her family were among the more fortunate ones. Her home sustained moderate damage and it's being repaired and along with it, a change in attitude.

"I'm trying very hard everyday not to complain. You wake up and tomorrow may be over," Cotton said.

Cotton's son Thomas says the mere fact the tornado scored a direct hit in this part of town put a lot things in perspective, an early lesson for a 12-year old.

"You never know what you got until somebody else's stuff is gone," said Thomas Cotton.

Also getting rebuilt is the city's tax base. The city lost $80,000 in sales tax revenues just in the first week alone after the tornado. Wal-Mart reopened 10 days later but today some stores are still closed.  Prattville city finance director Rod Morgan says city officials won't know for at least another 3 weeks whether there has been enough business, enough shoppers to make up for the loss.

"Sales tax checks must be post-marked by the 20th of each month. In this case March 20 so we won't know anything probably until mid-April," Morgan said.

If it turns out the city didn't make up the big revenue loss, they can dip into the reserve fund worth around $1.2 million.

In all the tornado damaged around 50 businesses, hundreds of homes either damaged or destroyed but no one died. That's why for so many including Tiffany Cotton they are still giving thanks one month later.