Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tornado Time In Tennessee

If it seems as if I'm overly fascinated with how almost real time conversations take place on Facebook, it's because I am. And, yes, I'm familiar with instant messaging and this modern convenience called e-mail, but Facebook is different. Where else can so many people share so much information so quickly, with pictures to illustrate no less, than on FB? (I haven't tried Twitter yet, so I can't compare the two services.)

I say all that to say this: yesterday's severe weather that swept through Middle Tennessee included a tornado that touched down near Murfreesboro, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville. Two people were killed and dozens more were injured. Houses were flattened and buildings were torn apart. Thousands are without power.

And I watched it all on Facebook.

It started in the morning after a line of thunderstorms woke up citizens across the area. One friend wrote that she was "annoyed by these storms and the shaking house" at 4:42 am.

Just after 12 noon the same friend said she was "tired of these tornado sirens."

Late came reports that people were in their "safe" places, waiting out the storms, which swept through in the noon hour. (That in itself is another topic, perhaps for some future blog. People I know by and large take tornado warnings way more seriously than they used or so it seems to me. Perhaps the tornado that passed through the downtown Nashville area in 1998 has something to do with that.)

"I am thankful for our basement," one friend wrote. "Listening to tornado sirens."

"I'm at my parents and have no basement!" another wrote. "I pray that God will spare us all from any harm."

When the storms passed, pictures started rolling in. The photos on this page are from my friend Mickie Howell and some of her co-workers and friends. They were all posted on FB and there are many, many more on the site.

Today friends used Facebook to share updates about, and prayers for, those affected by the devastating tornado. While I have my misgivings sometimes about the use of the word "friend" on FB for people one barely knows, today and yesterday gave me a better feeling about the term as I watched folks share genuine concern for those affected by the storms. 

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