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Looking back at five years ago

April 27, 2016

There are days that occur in life where you’ll always remember where you are and what you were doing when they happened. September 11, 2011 is most often remembered in that department, or December 7, 1941 as bad days in history of this country.

Then there are good days. In my lifetime there have been 17 dates where sports triumphs of one sort or another occurred for my favorite teams. Championship days in late March or early April for basketball, then perhaps the middle of December for football about a decade ago. Of course, in Tennessee nobody forgets January 4, 1999.

Weather people have those days, too, and they’re typically not good. April 3 and 4, 1974 is a tornado outbreak day. There are blizzards in winter and hurricanes in late summer, all are remembered for the disaster they’ve caused. Interestingly, it is quite rare for a sunny day to bring much attention.

If you see me out somewhere, typically at a store buying something or calling a baseball game or whatever, you’ll see a pink wristband on my left arm. There is a series I wrote last April about that here. The date is etched in white, 4.27.2011. It’s the day Ashley Harrison, someone I didn’t know until after the storms,  died thanks to the EF-4 tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I wear that wristband not only on this date but every day to remember everyone lost in the tornadoes.

Here, there were 12 people lost officially. I’ve heard of a couple who passed away indirectly, but the storms exacerbated their circumstances, so I always quote 14. We had tornadoes from near Abingdon to Glade Spring to Camp Creek, with rotating thunderstorms all over our area that night. Even today, five years later, and knowing other states that lost far more people to the storms, it’s still hard to wrap my mind around. It’s not often we lose people because of storms here, much less tornadoes.

It took me months to finally sit down and be able to put my thoughts down on this blog. I did it in June for my personal blog that I updated regularly those days, but I copied and pasted it here in mid-November. I post the link to that here so you can get somewhat of an idea of what my night was like and the days following the storms five years ago.

Use today as a reminder to have a plan. Make sure you know some local geography so you know where storms are in relation to your location so you’ll have time before a warning to prepare. The more you know, the calmer you’ll be in severe weather situations. Where will you go when a tornado warning is issued where you are? How will you find out about it? I have lots of helpful hints at my last link, the Severe Weather Safety Rules page. It does look like a lot of information, but the simple part that will work in any situation is to get to the lowest floor of the building, in a small room away from windows, with as many walls between you and the outside as possible if you’re in a tornado warning polygon.

Links are listed below. I know everyone has a story from five years ago, so if you’ve got one, please share it with me. Just leave a comment below.

A Record Breaking Day

As Big As the Sky

Severe Weather Safety Rules

NWS Morristown Outbreak Summary

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