Wednesday, April 16, 2008

10 Years Ago Today

Wow... I can't believe it has been ten years since the most intense weather day in my life. I was a sophomore at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY. As a member of the WKU StormTEAM, I was at the studios of WKYU covering the severe weather and providing continuous coverage on the campus television station.

My wife (girlfriend at the time) was needing to drive home to Nashville to help her sister with her wedding, which was planned for Saturday. She came by the station and I told her that the weather is bad and that she may want to hang out in Bowling Green for a little bit. She really needed to go quickly, so I told her that she may make it, if she hurried. That was a bad call on my part!

About an hour later, we had a tornado warning for Warren County, KY. This was the county where WKU was located. As the storm approached, we could "hear" the hail falling! It sounded like static from a TV. I was on air before the storm hit, outside of the studios. As the sky darkened, I took cover. The tornado warning actually mentioned that WKU was in the path of the tornado. The tornado barely missed us, but the hail was a DIRECT HIT!

It was the worst hail storm I have ever seen! Baseball sized hail covered the ground and there were even some isolated hailstones that were as large as softballs! Click here to see some of the radar images. My truck, like most cars in Bowling Green, was demolished!
The local ABC affiliate, WBKO, has a good story reflecting back on the storm. You can click here to see their account of the day.

Meanwhile, keep in mind... my wife was heading to Nashville. Another storm was hitting downtown Nashville as she drove into town! Check out the YouTube clip below for what it was like in Nashville! Downtown Nashville had a F3 come right in to Downtown!

My wife made it through the storm and so did the rest of my family. Most of my family wokred in downtown Nashville as the tornado struck.

After I battled through the hail storm of Bowling Green, I made the 1 hour drive back to Nashville to check on my family. I'll never forget driving south on I-65 and seeing a DARK downtown skyline in Nashville. I had made that trip many times, but I never saw a dark skyline. It was very spooky.

I still can't believe it has been 10 years!



Heidi said...

Whoa. That YouTube video is really difficult to watch. :-/

During the video, one of the anchors mentions the fatalities in Wayne Co. TN, and then shows the video of the tornado near Lawrenceburg. As I'm sure you know, Ryan, that was an F-5. Here's an interesting read on that event:

I've actually seen some of the damage from that; before Rick & I moved to Arkansas, we were looking seriously at Wayne & Hardin Co. (and a few neighboring counties) and visited the area in 2002. There was a lot of tree damage less than a mile from one piece of property we went to see. Also of note -- that same area was hard-hit on February 5th of this year.

It's a very creepy feeling knowing that if we had moved to TN instead of here, we may well have been just as close to those tornados. It makes us wonder what those places look like now.

...That must have been some drive to Nashville with a busted windshield!

Anonymous said...

I recall checking folks into the Red Cross shelter for their stay and assigning beds,blankets, etc.
We were trained to make out forms
in triplicate for everything but
in reality it was just grab a note
and spindle it...where's the forms?
Who knows? Then I remember that
the Emergency Response deliverers apologizing for the watery but hot
chili to which corn, beans,pasta had been added to make it go a bit further. All the restaurants began
pitching in and the businesses all helped immensely in addition to the volunteers chopping trees that were downed.