“It’s just God,” Cook told CNN on Friday.
Cook and her husband rode out the tornado in a closet in their two-story home in the Eagle Point neighborhood of Birmingham. They could see the storm clouds above them when the roof gave way.
Cook said that after the storm passed she wanted to save as many of her photographs as she could from her damaged home.
Later, she noticed the cross was still standing in her backyard and the purple cloth hadn’t blown away.
“It’s still there and my cross is still there because God was with all these people, and us,” Cook said.
She plans to replace the cloth with a white one on Easter Sunday.
“This is what God is all about,” Cook said pointing to the cross. “Lent is a sorrowful time but then on that Easter Sunday, it will be beautiful all again.”
The National Weather Service said that 23 tornadoes formed across the Southeast on Thursday into Friday morning — one in Mississippi; 17 in Alabama; and five in Georgia.
The tornadoes killed at least five people in Calhoun County, Alabama, and one person in Coweta County, Georgia, which is south of Atlanta.
A tornado caused extensive damage in Cook’s neighborhood, snapping trees and reducing brick-sided homes to piles of rubble.
“Tornadoes have been known to indiscriminately damage some homes and property and not another,” said CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam. “In this case, it appears the tornado lifted and dropped several different times before leaving the cross and scarf in place but destroying the roof of the nearby home.”
The drone of chain saws could be heard around the neighborhood on Friday as people worked to clear the debris and spread blue tarps over damaged homes.