Oak Village devastated by storms. Again

Destroyed Home00000000
Damage in Oak Village after storms Jan. 12, 2023.

They say lightning never strikes the same place twice, but tornadoes are a different story.

In Hale County’s Oak Village, residents are no strangers to storms. In fact, the area is still recovering from one that hit the community a little over a month ago.

As the sun came up Thursday morning, blue tarps remained draped over homes in the area like Band-Aids, still awaiting repairs after last year’s disaster. A few hours later, even more homes were in need of those blue Band-Aids. Those that weren’t beyond repair, anyway.

Anthony Blevins and his family have lived in their home along the Black Warrior River for two years. His wife, daughter and granddaughter were there when the tornado hit Thursday.

The rest of the family wasn’t keen to talk to the press, but it’s not Blevins’ first disaster. He also lost everything on April 27, 2011.

“It definitely can happen twice,” Blevins said. “Hopefully not anymore, but who knows? Anywhere in Alabama is tornado alley.”

There were no reported injuries or deaths in Oak Village, but the property loss was immense. Homes, vehicles, boats, storage sheds, piers: All gone.

Tommy Alexander told WVUA 23 he’s stayed at his home in Oak Village almost every night for the last six months, but he had a feeling Wednesday that he should make other arrangements. So he did. If he hadn’t, he might not have survived.

“I stayed at the hunting camp with my buddy right here,” Alexander said. “We were alone. It is the first time this year I haven’t stayed here when I came hunting this year. I stayed in the hunting camp trailer. That’s a miracle. It really is.”

Before Oak Village residents consider what’s next, they’re counting their blessings. Stuff can be replaced, after all.

“(I’m thankful) that everybody was safe,” Blevins said. “Everybody in the whole neighborhood. I don’t think there were any injuries that I have heard of yet.

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