BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It’s been a year since a hail storm ripped through Cullman County.
March 19, 2018, a hail storm rips through Cullman. Something Don Smith prefers not to look back on.
“Hail, softball size, were hitting the driveway and bouncing, bouncing into the windows, shattering all the windows in the house,” says Don Smith. “And there wasn’t anything you could do.”
But Smith has come a long way, almost complete with all his home projects.
“Put in nine-foot ceilings. And it didn’t have a garage door before, it had a carport,” said Smith.
The inside has had a complete transformation as well. Smith lost all his furniture, so everything is new. And they took that opportunity to make some improvements, taking down walls and adding different features.
There’s the grand piano, amazingly still intact after part of the ceiling fell on it. An ordeal that Smith narrowly escaped himself waking up the day after the storm.
“And I smelled the coffee brewing, and I thought man it just seemed like a nightmare. Got up, walked through the doorway into the kitchen and about that time, the whole ceiling fell," said Smith. "It fell on the couch that I was sleeping on. I t was like the good Lord said ‘don’t you smell the coffee? You better get up!’”
Nearby is the storage building where you can still see the divots made by the softball-sized hail. Smith and his wife lived in a hotel for two months, then in this camper until the house was ready. The camper is now for sale.
“My camping days are over!” said Smith.
The Smiths moved back in the week before Christmas and had family over. They’re still adjusting to life after the storm, but grateful for what they have.
“There’s worse things in life. I have friends battling cancer," said Smith. "Really puts things in perspective. Just can’t give up. Just have to have faith and just keep on going. I’m a survivor.”
Smith is thinking about building a storm shelter in his garage because of the constant tornado warnings they get in Cullman. They rode out the one last week in his neighbor’s shelter.