MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - We are more than a week removed from Zeta storming across the heart of Alabama, but most have not -- and probably won’t -- forget it. Someone who will certainly never forget the night of Wednesday, October 28th, is Christine Smith.
Smith -- alongside her daughter and two foster children -- were inside their mobile home in Alexander City as the core of Zeta’s intense winds moved across Central Alabama. Wind gusts reached 50-80 mph area-wide, with a gust of 62 mph reported in Alex City.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve been through,” Smith said of Zeta. “It sounded like a machine gun then a grenade going off.”
The “grenade” she’s referring to is the deafening sound of two large trees crashing right into her home during the peak of Zeta’s heavy rain and strong winds. She says she had just left the area of the home where the trees crashed into it to go sit down on the couch.
“I was maybe 3 feet away [from the trees].” Fortunately she only suffered minor cuts and bruises.
With significant damage done to the home, Smith had no choice but to grab the kids and immediately leave. She did just that, got in her pickup truck and drove to a church parking lot to ride out the rest of the storm.
Upon returning four days later, the sight was daunting, overwhelming and simply heartbreaking.
“We lost everything but a bed and our clothes,” Smith tells WSFA’s Tyler Sebree. “We are homeless now. It may not have been much to most but it was all we had."
Smith says the home is uninhabitable, and that she is waiting to see what they can do to at least start pushing forward.
Alex City was just one of many, many cities and towns across the state that saw moderate to significant tree and powerline damage as Zeta pushed through. On the morning of October 28th, Alabama Power reported just shy of 500,000 power outages statewide.
In fact, there were more than 2.5 million customers without electricity at one point across Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Sadly, Zeta claimed six lives and caused widespread tree, powerline and even structural damage across several states.