March 15th, 2008

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Voice Post: On in Street

170K 0:53
“Well still it's an appropriate time for a voice post it would be like as I'm standing outside in the streets of my neighborhood having just spent like an hr surveying the damage. It's really impressive. I'm sure you know how we'll see it on the news. Oh my gosh there will there are such a lot of broken glass and crushed cars and there's like a whole building that has been destroyed and stained glass windows broken and the big towers in Centennial Park are like laying down and I think they're telling us all to go home now. Ok yeah. Bye. We have to go evacuate.”

Auto-Transcribed Voice Post - spoken through SpinVox

Classic post. At the end you can hear the fire dept. megaphones telling people to get off the streets and take cover.
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Tornado Update

Yeah, so there was this tornado.

Just spent about an hour surveying the damage. While my building and block got its share of damage (lots of gutters, roofing, trees thrashed), a lot of areas are much worse. Caleb's building was right in the path of it and around there and all through down to Centennial Park, CNN, Georgia Dome, etc., it really does look like a bomb went off. Hundreds of blown out windows, crushed cars, giant hunks of building cornice lying around, steel fences twisted like plastic, a whole building reduced to its frame, etc. We ran into neighbors who say that another downtown park, Hurt, lost most of its trees. It's dark out so you can't see some of the worst of it. Tomorrow morning is going to be a sight.

Here's a list of all the damage I've seen:

  • That huge billboard at Marietta & Spring was shredded; all that's left is part of the Philips Arena sign, that clock and the jumbotron.

  • Large buildings with many, many windows blown out: Westin Hotel, Omni Hotel, Equitable Building, SunTrust Tower, a popular 1940s parking garage on Spring St.

  • Lot of smaller buildings with windows blown out, including my friend's building, 123 Luckie. Of my neighbors over there lost 11 windows.

  • Smashed storefronts, from windows and glass doors being sucked out/in.

  • Trees knocked down, pulled out by the roots, thrown a few blocks.

  • Several large steel-supported billboards twisted up by the power of the storm, keeled over and crushed parked vehicles. I'd say at least a dozen cars were totaled, just on Centennial Park Drive.

  • They were setting up a crane at Marietta & Forsyth, to install some rooftop equipment at 55 Marietta. I think it got knocked over, looks like anyway.

  • The lobby of my building (Healey, 57 Forsyth) got thrashed -- revolving door collapsed, ceiling lights swung and hit the ceiling, shattering, the glass down in the rotunda is partially shattered.

  • Windows of the big 24-hour Kinko's are blown out.

  • Ted's Montana grill is now an open-air restaurant.

  • Big chunk of cornice in building Ted Turner owns (Luckie & Spring) was ripped off, is on the sidewalk.

  • All around the neighborhood there are huge, mangled chunks of stuff that have blown off roofs -- metal air vents, gutters, insulation, tiles, slabs of tar paper.

  • The Tabernacle sustained major damage -- a couple of the big marbled windows are gone, lots of smaller windows are shattered, the building sign (T A B E R N A C L E) is gone.

  • The white pointy building sort of connected to the Tabernacle was destroyed. There are no walls, just metal beams.

  • Right when the thing hit, I saw a ton of paper (imagine 100 cases of office paper) swirling around SunTrust building by Woodruff Park. Neighbors say the building's windows were blown out and the paper was actually stuff sucked out of the office. There are curtains from the building on the street now.

  • I saw a whole bunch of blankets and comforters, presumedly from homeless people, flying through the air.

  • Centennial Park is probably the thing that shocked me most. It's really devastating, and we could only see park of it. The metal and stone wall that goes around the outside is just a big twisted line of rubble. At least two of the big metal torch towers are down, thrown like matchsticks. A couple of the food vending stands were obviously lifted off the ground and thrown.

    There's even more stuff I saw, but you get the idea. For more, see CNN, which is headquarted right in the line of the tornado. Lots of reports the building got heavy damage, esp. the glass atrium. The Georgia Dome is messed up, the Fulton Cotton Mill got major damage (I think the top floor is missing from one building... looked like on CNN), Hurt Park has lost a ton of trees, Edgewood Ave. got torn up. But anyway, just wanted to share.

    UPDATE: The damage at the bag mill (big old mill complex converted to housing a few years ago) is really bad. Caleb called and said something about it pancaking. People must have died. God.
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Tornado Map

I'm not going to be able to sleep, so I may as well keep posting. Here's a map showing where I, Caleb and Daniel live, then CNN... and then the purple area, which is all that I *know* of that's suffered damage. The damage is supposed to extend eastward down Edgewood and over to by Oakland Cemetery.


Pic Before Bed

I'm walking away from the computer now... going to watch TV and/or do crosswords and then hopefully get sleepy. But check out this shot (from our local paper) showing the Philips Arena billboard a couple blocks from me. It looks kind of artsy really, but those panels of metal are *not* supposed to be jumbled up like noodles. (And speaking of noodles, at the bottom is a Chinese restaurant I get takeout from, Golden Buddha, which'll be closed this weekend I'm sure.)

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From the National Weather Service:


Windspeed was recorded at over 130 mph. Jeez, no wonder sh*t went flying!
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OMG! Just when I thought it was over...

...there were more tornado watches/warnings, huge hail, and evacs.

Just spent the past hour huddling in the workout room in the basement of my building. I was watching TV when GSU's emergency warning loudspeakers started shrieking and telling everybody to take care, tornado time! I grabbed Luckie, threw her in a carrier, covered the cages with blankets, grabbed my purse and ran down the stairs. (Amusingly, BBC called me right at that moment asking if they could run my pictures, LOL.) I ran into a bunch of neighbors, including a family with two kids and two dogs, who were in the gym. It was a nice b/c there's a TV there and we could watch local news.

Anyway, long story short, we had some mega hail here, but it looks like the scary storms -- tornadoes and huge (3") hail are hitting south of here. There's an east-west line of storms running from Alabama over to Athens, with 100+ mph wind shear and storms with "rotation" all over the place. They were concerned a tornado might hit the Atlanta airport; at the very least I expect some dinged-up planes hit by hail.

There's kind of an all-clear now, but I'll keep an ear out for more warnings!