Friday, April 3, 2009

It's That Time Of Year

Yesterday's round of severe weather in Nashville, while nowhere near as devastating, reminded me of the Great Nashville Tornado Outbreak of April 16, 1998.

The fun started early that morning 11 years ago when the first wave of rough weather swept through the area. I distinctly remember huddling with my four dogs in the bathroom (an interior room, which seemed to be my best option in a basement-less house) at 5:30 in the morning while I monitored the situation on my Sony Watchman. 

Later that morning I hopped a flight to Atlanta then Myrtle Beach for a Travis Tritt concert that night (I was working at Warner Bros., Tritt's label at the time). The morning's weather mostly forgotten, I walked into the backstage area at the venue to find crew and band members huddled around televisions watching the devastation caused by the three tornadoes that had touched down in the Nashville area just minutes before. (The photo above was taken by television station WTVF's SkyCam as one of the tornadoes approached downtown Nashville.)

I immediately began calling the phone numbers of friends and colleagues to no avail. Like others, I quickly found out that calls weren't going through.

It wasn't until hours later, after the show and during a visit to a local bar with Bill Young and Holly Hart (not a stripper, a local radio programmer), that I finally made contact and found out that everything was OK with those that I cared about.

1 comment:

  1. That day is one I will never forget. My assistant ran in and said that a tornado was headed for downtown Nashville. I, being the expert on the subject, said that a tornado would never hit a major metropolitan area.

    We walked downstairs and looked at the clear-ish sky. And then the cloud blew in. A huge brown-ish/grey-ish cloud that was moving like a time-lapse photo in "real time." You could immediately feel the change in the air. The entire sky darkend, the wind picked up and huge items were blowing down 16th Avenue.

    I didn't know I could run that fast! I made it to the restroom in no time flat, where I met up with other folks from the building who said that many of their co-workers had sought shelter somewhere "safer"....the parking garage. WHAT?? They were darned lucky.

    After the storm had passed, I headed home to see the destruction in my neighborhood. Fortunately, my house was spared.

    We all spent the rest of the day surveying the damage to our "hood" and taking cover from the subsequent rounds of storms.

    My power was restored four days later and life returned to some sort of normalcy. The memory, however, lives on.