Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fridays Aren't So Wonderful Lately

Don’t we all simply live to get to Friday? Fridays just have a different sort of feeling to them. They are normally that little bend in the racetrack where you can catch your breath for moment, look back on a week accomplished, and begin to plan for the week ahead.

Around here though, the last two Fridays have been knee deep in tornado terror. As a native Georgian tornados and stories of tornados have been a part of my life since birth, but lately……

Last Friday night I was posting something over at my Georgia site while there was a nice little rain coming down. It was already dark and I was waiting on my husband to get home. News reports had mentioned rain and had mentioned the possibility of wind but no mention of tornados. As I was working with my laptop the lights suddenly went out…..pitchblack except for the light of the laptop which had switched over to battery.

I kept working as the power went on and off, on and off, on and off, on and off, several times in succession. The rain had stopped, and it was very quite and still. Five minutes later the storm sirens went off. I didn’t get scared until the sirens went off. I think that sound is more scary than the wind and the rain, quite frankly. It was so confusing to hear the siren because there was nothing going on outside.

There I was computer in hand, no warnings from my television, no warnings when I checked the local tv sites…..nothing but quiet. I thought maybe I should go to the basement, but there I was in the dark with no flashlight, and I’d probably kill myself just trying to get down there navigating the maze I’ve created with “important stuff” I keep telling myself I need to store.

Come to find out while it was so quiet and the power kept going on and off a tornado was overhead and was traveling to its dismise just a few miles away. In fact the storm had hit a grocery store and some houses about 5 miles away from me and had done quite a bit of damage.

Witnesses there said the sirens didn’t go off until ten minutes after the storm had hit. What’s the point? Later in the week the National Weather Service confirmed a touchdown of an EF1 tornado with winds of 110 mph. The track of the storm was seven miles long and approximately 100 yards wide. The touchdown was at Hampton Mill Road, and the track continued northeast through the grocery store across Chapel Hill Road through Brookmont, and finally disappating at Vulcan Drive near Groover Lake in Lithia Springs. Since I’m near Vulcan Drive I know that all of that time it was so quiet the storm was moving overhead.


That brings me to last night when the city of Atlanta made history. A tornado hit the city for the first time that we know of. The damage pictures are absolutely amazing. Fellow Georgia blogger Spacey G from Mostly Media shares her own video from last night.

Details from Atlanta’s oldest local news channel, WSB-TV, can be found here along with a slideshow of images taken by media types, and a slideshow of images uploaded by everyday folks. A paper from Kentucky has a few daytime images of highrises as well as the many condo buildings (converted factories) that dot the downtown area.

It is amazing to see Atlanta landmarks like the Equitable Building and the Peachtree Plaza with windows blown out. Also, as much as many Georgians complain about the craziness that can go on with Atlanta government and politics it seems the city did a great job last night handling a situation that could have resulted in utter chaos. I’m sure we’ll hear somebody complaining in the days to come though.

As I am writing this today another wave of storms are racing across the state and fatalities are reported in Polk County, Georgia. For a time they were mentioning my father’s community of Macedonia near Canton, so I have been in prayer for folks I know and love as well as folks I don’t know.

Springtime in Georgia….it appears it will be a bumpy ride this year.

….note for you grammar-type folks--- tornadoes and tornados are both accepted as proper plural forms….just in case you wondered. :)

UPDATE: A little while after I posted this we had another storm come through with hail the size of golf balls. The storm went over us, but as it moved on towards Atlanta a local television tower camera got an image of it. It's rare to get an image of a tornado in Georgia. See my update over at Georgia on My Mind titled Well, Hail!


M-Dawg said...

I'm my goodness EHT! So happy to hear you are OK.

I grew up in IL so those crazy funnels were apart of my life.

I've never understand with all the modern technology we have today and how they can't do a much better job with detecting tornadoes sooner instead of later.

EHT said...

So far so good, m-dawg, so far so good. Mr. Weatherman states we are in for storm after storm through midnight at least. It's been a long day. The sirens woke us up this morning at 5:30.

Another storm passed over us a little while ago with lots of hail. I'll post the pics in a bit.

Around here it's so hard to even see the durn things because of all the hills, ridges, and trees. Atlanta is full of trees.

The Tour Marm said...

You, and all in Georgia, have been in my thoughts and prayers. I'm glad you are OK. I was once on the edge of a tornado, without any place safe to go, it was quite frightening and went through like a lightening flash. Afterwards the blue sky appeared and calm returned, but the countryside looked as if it had been in a food processor.

Additionally, one of my best friends from high school lives on
2nd Avenue and 52nd Street in New York City, where the crane fell down, and I was also worried about him.

Yep, it's been trying.

Count your blessings.

EHT said...

Our weatherguys in Atl....particularly on channel 2 did a fantastic job. At times they pinpointed exact streets where there would be damage. Truely amazing.

Still even with technology some storms just erupt without any warning like the one that hit downtown. There just wasn't enough warning which was why so many were surprised.