Monday, February 18, 2008

Some Were Not So Fortunate

Late Sunday afternoon my wife and I were hurriedly attempting to get out of Atlanta after we heard radio reports that Atlanta was under a tornado warning. I know enough about weather reports to know that a “watch” means conditions are right for a tornado to occur.

A “warning” means one of those suckers has been spotted.

We were north of Atlanta on I-85 heading south when we heard that a tornado had been spotted and Atlanta was under such a warning. The problem was we didn’t know what part of Atlanta was under the warning. If one can drive hesitantly and fast at the same time that is exactly what I did. Kathy was the weather guide, looking behind and in front and to both sides to be sure we were not driving into its path as we drove down the interstate.

I had the stupid thought that if all the people on the interstate were still driving; it should be okay if we continued to drive. That was a really stupid thought. I’ve lived long enough to know that following the crowd usually gets you into big trouble. But in spite of the stupid thought, we escaped and made it home safely.

After we got home I turned on the television and realized the entire middle Georgia area was under the threat of tornados. I watched the local weatherman and his Doppler radar all evening with my laptop balanced on my lap. Through modern technology, I tracked a tornado going through my homeland of Taylor County then Roberta and watched as it headed to Macon across I-75 and Arkwright Road. I told my wife when I got in bed that I hoped my office was still standing because I watched a tornado go right over it tonight on Arkwright Road.

I arrived at my office building this morning to find the scene pictured above. Thankfully nobody was in the building when the tornado hit and everybody was safe. The renters in the suite that was destroyed were loading whatever they had left that was not ruined and moving it out.

There was obviously no electricity, no phone or internet service at my office complex. My administrative assistant headed back to work from home. Thanks to the Mobile Hotspot at the nearby Starbucks, I spent the morning there working (and drinking coffee). The meeting that was scheduled at my office this afternoon was moved to another place.

I was only slightly inconvenienced.

As you can see in the Macon Telegraph photo at the right, some in middle Georgia were not so fortunate.

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