Monday, May 2, 2011

Deadly tornadoes around Chattanooga

Tornado activities in Southeastern Tennessee (Hales Bar Marina is about 1 mile east of Haletown)
Wednesday (Apr 27) was rife with activity, tornado activity, that is. We haven't forgotten the last tornado that took out a dock at the marina last month. And barely a week ago, we read about the tornado that had ravaged N. Carolina.

So this time we had the TV on, heeded the tornado warnings and took precautions. People got off their boats and cabins, and hunkered down near the entrance of the tunnel that leads to the old Hales Bar Lock and Dam. High winds from the south was kicking up waves on the Tennessee River and we saw dense clouds moving rapidly around us. After an hour, we called it quits and returned to the boat, making dinner plans with several boaters.

Little did we know.
Hunkering down around the old building that are remnants of the old Hales Bar Lock and Dam
So around 6:30 pm, we were dining alfresco, laughing and toasting to our uneventful day when a loud snap caught our attention. We jumped out of our chairs to see a waterspout heading towards us. The top looked like dense grayish cloud with churning debris, and it was about 500 feet away.

Visions of the movie "Twister" danced before me. I felt adrenaline pumping into my veins and my heart racing. I've never been so scared in my life. We were ready to duck somewhere safe or run for our lives. But where to hide? How far and fast can we run? Would we be safe if we jumped into the water? These were thoughts that ran through my mind.
The storm turned and went up the hill
Down trees on the road leading to marina
Just as quickly as it appeared, it changed direction and went up the hill, destroying everything in its path. We were very lucky. Others were not so fortunate. Our friends in Trenton, Georgia found their town flattened, with two fatalities. By the time it was all over, the vicious storm that swept across 6 southern states had claimed over 300 lives. It is now Monday. We still have no power, but we are grateful to be alive and well.
About 17 miles south of us, Trenton, Georgia
Some storm pictures are courtesy of Glenda Bean.

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Remnants of Hurricane Ida drench the Mid-Atlantic Seize the day – hiking at Lookout Mountain Tornado ripped up dock at Hales Bar Marina

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