The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tornado strikes the Georgia Dome in Atlanta March 14, 2008 and the Georgia tornado outbreak on March 15, 2008

(CNN photo by Kyle Almond of the debris scattered in front of the CNN building. AP photo below... both link to CNN.) The big story this morning is the (what looks like) tornado that tore through Atlanta, damaging the Georgia Dome (where "the storm struck the 71,000-seat Georgia Dome at 9:45 p.m. during a Southeastern Conference tournament basketball game." Alabama Mike was watching the game as it happened, subsequently calling me to tell me what happened. He actually posted a video of what happened inside the dome... you can actually hear it... cool. SCM was also watching the game at the time.) It also caused damage to the CNN building, where my friend Courtney works, and I have not yet heard back from her. According to the CNN story (they had front row seats for this event.)

Trees crushed a row of houses in Atlanta's historic Cabbagetown district just east of downtown, at least 20 of the historic homes were destroyed by the storm. The top floor collapsed at one building in the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts. Part of the city's MARTA mass-transit rail system was shut down because of damage east of downtown. A gaping hole could be seen in the 14th floor of a high-rise dorm at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta. Witnesses compared downtown Atlanta to a war zone Friday night, with glass from high-rise windows littering the streets along with roofing and trees. Virtually all of the windows facing Centennial Olympic Park on the Omni Hotel, which is adjacent to CNN Center, were shattered, leaving curtains flapping in the darkened windows.
-- there were no known deaths and just one life-threatening injury Friday night-- About 30 people -- one of them a firefighter -- were treated at hospitals, mostly for minor cuts, scrapes and bruises.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said emergency officials determined that it was a tornado that ripped through the heart of her city. A tornado warning was in effect when Friday night's storm struck. The storm tracked from the northwest side of the city to the southeast.
Here is a link to CNN's slideshow. I would imagine that damage assessment for a storm like this would be incredibly difficult. Tall buildings, such as what we have in Atlanta already work to amplify winds as they channel through the streets between (which is exactly why you shouldn't sit under and overpass during a tornado, another wind tunnel scenario. Alabama Mike also shared with me a link to James Spann's blog, where some meteorologists have shared their thoughts about the "only tornado (which will likely be confirmed as an EF2 or higher) in history to strike downtown Atlanta"... check out the link.

What's worse is that Atlanta falls under a moderate risk today for severe weather by the SPC... before they have a chance to fully assess their damage, they might very well be struck with yet another severe storm. They have issued a public severe weather outlook.
Already this morning, some rotation is presenting itself over northern Alabama as the storm complex build, making its way toward north Georgia. Folks in that area should keep their weather radios on! Keep your eyes to the sky, folks.

Update 11:15: Tornado Watch was just issued for most of north Georgia. The dynamics exist for the development of tornadic supercells. Please, everyone be watchful and mindful of what is going on around you up that way.

1:00PM update: There is possibly a tornado near Cartersville, (in Georgia) strong rotation is exhibited on radar... People in Woodstock, Holly Springs, Alpharetta should be ready to take cover... A funnel cloud was already spotted earlier on this same cell. It looks too like another one is firing up right behind it...

1:30 Update, I am hearing reports of tornadoes and fatalities associated with this storm near Cartersville, including damage to Woodland High School. Also, reports of an elementary school in Taylorsville that was damaged. Take those warnings seriously today... those cells are pulsing out of nowhere and quickly going severe. They could seemingly come out of nowhere. Update 5:30: There has been a major tornado outbreak in the northern part of Georgia. So far 12 tornado reports... I was getting all sorts of updates and questions while I was in the play I went to this afternoon, 1 fatality, TVSs everywhere, State of Emergency declared in much of the metro area, reports of baseball sized hail, golf ball sized hail, amazing radar captures. It's phenomenal! Oh, and the one in Atlanta, Georgia that hit the Georgia Dome last night was a confirmed EF2. Here's more on the story... link.

For updates about this and other storms, check out my main page at

God be with all those impacted.


  1. I think there is more action coming today.....wild. Head north Dew, head north.


  2. I think this certainly proves a better case that the Dewvoid is fading. :-) Heck, even the lake levels are recovering nicely after a historic drought. Spead your wings and fly, Dew! LOL!

  3. Mikey, I wish I could, but who wants to chase in that area... really? Doesn't sound too terribly fun or safe.

    Steve, I hope you voted. I think the Dewvoid is definitely gone. Wow, giving me credit for the drought recovery. ;O)

  4. hey dew! Wow, I'm not home and Cartersville gets slammed! The family is ok thank God! I don't know the extent of the damage. The Taylorsville Elementary school is where dd goes... can you tell me where you heard the damage report?

  5. Seems like everything is backbulding the south...shoulda went north today but running as fever now..;-(. Time to stay in bed...

  6. Fantastic information, and pictures... I watched this on the news today.. it rare we get anything like this... if the wind blew a garbage bin over it would make our headlines..

  7. 130 miles per hour wind is nothing compare to what we can expect with the global warming. We saw the sea washed to shore in Spain due to higher sea level caused by global warming. The melting polar ice cap means more water for the ocean, that in turn means more rain, more snow, and more trouble.

    The earth is also over due for a magnetic pole flip, and who knows what will happen when it flips.

  8. Hey Jenn...
    Hope you don't mind I linked your blog to my post today about the Atlanta tornado and weather. I also was downtown this morning, and took a picture to document the tornado. On the way home we had to get off the highway because the rain was so heavy, and then it turned into a hail storm. Video is also on my blog. Amazing and crazy weather in GA.

  9. Nicole, I wish I had had your cell handy while I was out and about yesterday, when I heard about Cartersville, you were the first person I thought about. I am so glad to know your family is ok. I believe I got that information about the elementary school from TWC, but I think it was also confirmed in storm reports, well, maybe not... must have been TWC. 31 tornado reports... I am SO GLAD you are OK.

    Rick, the way those storms were pulsing out of nothing, in a heavily populated area, with traffic inhibiting road options... sure, shoulda chased it... let's not forget rule #1, play it safely, live to chase another day.

    Tom, it was a very wild day. That kind of a tornado outbreak is definitely not common in Georgia. I had Mini-Dew with me, so I wasn't even tempted to go up there, but I have heard a lot about it. Would have been a scary chase.

    Conspiracy theorist... let me present you with global cooling as a more likely scenario... I linked there to Steve M.'s blog. He also has some interesting thoughts regarding yesterday and Friday's tornado outbreak in Georgia...

    Courtney, Glad you're ok, too. Whew, what a day it was yesterday. I can't believe you did damage assessment. Definitely amazing and crazy weather. Crazy year, so far...

  10. Wow, your blog is amazingly clear and well informed. I knew you were cool, but you blow me away!
    Today the weather is brilliantly sunny and warm. Such contrast to the last two days.

  11. Gary, That's a really awesome compliment, nothing like a storm chaser's blog "blowing someone away"! Perfect! I am glad to share what I know, especially with regard to the weather. Thanks, Gary!

  12. Jenn, thank you for thinking of us. At one point I remember thinking, 'I need to call Dew' but then I never searched to see if I had your number, alittle preoccupied watching the storm reports I guess.

  13. That was my first thought... when I watched that velocity image right there at Cartersville... "Oh my dear God, that's where Nicole is." I had forgotten about CCA. I can't imagine how worried you must have been.


Dew comment, please...