NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Being from Headland in south Alabama, Brittney Wilkerson admits she and many others are numb to severe weather.
So it was not a surprise that she decided to drive back to Nashville from her hometown as tornadoes hit just north of her on Sunday. The sirens were going off as she left.
As the conditions worsened, she stopped traveling as she got closer to Montgomery.
"It was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon and it looked like it was 6 o'clock at night," Wilkerson recalled. "The wind got terrible, and lightning, and the black sky so I knew I was about to go through the worst part."
Meanwhile, tornadoes struck in the counties northeast of her including Lee County where at least 23 people were killed. Authorities released the names of the victims on Tuesday which include a 6-year-old boy.
While Wilkerson's family home was far enough, she said it was still too close for comfort.
"It's hard to know that that could have easily been my parent's house or it could have easily had someone in that line close to me," she said.
Sunday's tornado outbreak is the deadliest in recent years, but it's also not unusual.
Wilkerson said she has some type of tie with the major tornadoes that have hit Alabama over the past decade. She experienced the aftermath of living close to where a tornado killed eight people at Enterprise High School in 2007, and the tornado in Tuscaloosa years later.
"I had plenty of friends that were there and quite a few friends that were close to the people and students who passed away," Wilkerson added.
However, with tornadoes, she said they are also used to community support. Her brother, a fire captain back home, is collecting donations to help relief efforts in the hardest hit areas.
"We've seen it so often that you have to get into motion and do what you have to do, clean it up and help everybody out," she said.
There a ways to help with relief efforts in Alabama including the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund. To learn more, click here.