On April 27, 2011 an EF5 tornado three quarters of a mile wide with wind speeds up to 210 mph struck Hackleburg, Ala. Eighteen people died in the small town located 15 miles north of Hamilton in Marion County. Hamilton is where I grew up. I was living in Tuscaloosa at the time and documented the destruction there on April 27th. Click here to read about that. I woke up on the morning of April 28th knowing I had to get to Marion County where most of the Northern half of the county was without power, including areas north of Hamilton where I had family. I drove to Marion County on the 28th and managed to get into Hackleburg to document the devastation. The Hackleburg tornado first touched down southwest of Hamilton and tracked northeast for 132 miles before lifting in southeast Tennessee. The tornado was responsible for 72 deaths and 145 injuries. This tornado tracked closely to the same path of the 1920 Tornado that killed 20 people in Marion County and also struck Hackleburg. Click here to read about that. Below is a slideshow of photos I made of Hackleburg on April 28, 2011. I made a few more trips back to Hackleburg in the following days. Check back for those slideshows.
Photos by Michael E. Palmer/Palmer's Almanac
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org