The messages came in a fast and furious onslaught: a series of massively powerful tornadoes were ripping across Alabama and other parts of the South.
On the receiving end of frantic descriptions of entire neighborhoods wiped out by last week's storms that killed 342, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate urged President Barack Obama to immediately sign an emergency disaster declaration for Alabama.
The near immediate response was starkly different from past catastrophes.
It looks like Fugate's decision to risk being criticized for sending too much too soon to flattened towns than be left explaining why help took so long to arrive worked to at least make victims feel as if the government cared.
Fugate was on the ground a day after the storms subsided. Obama joined him Friday.
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