Five months after the deadly tornadoes in Huntsville, Ala.-which cut power to a NASA facility, an Army base and more-federal officials returned there to see what lessons they could learn from this disaster to prepare other communities for the worst.
By Joe Pappalardo
August 5, 2011 4:30 PM
No one in Huntsville, Ala., expected the storm system that ravaged the town in April to knock the city and surrounding areas off the grid completely. But a series of tornadoes severed all eight major power feeds into Madison County, leaving more than 340,000 north Alabama residents in the dark for six days. Complicating the recovery, Huntsville is home to an Army research base, NASA spaceflight facility, an economically vital research park and an active military repair depot, all dependent on the same power supply. It was a disaster that could have been a catastrophe, if not for the coordination of citizen, local government and industry players during the aftermath.