Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Good Friday Tornado Two Years Later

Greetings from the Boro:

This day changed my life, a 16 year old dream came true for me this day and it paved way to keep another dream of mine alive. A lot happened that day even before my encounter with the EF4 that would rip apart the Northern sections of Murfreesboro.

I hardly sleeped the night before as they were forecasting a major tornado outbreak across the Ohio Valley region days before not to mention severe weather was moving through the mid-state in the middle of the night. Around 4:30 AM a tornado warning was issued for Maury County to my southwest one had possibly touched down in Mount Pleasant (it was never confirmed), as it moved northeastward towards M'boro it turned into a gust front that came through with some minor wind damages. They had Murfreesboro in a Moderate Risk, a rather high end Moderate Risk because of the tornado potential (

At around 9:00 AM a tornado watch was issued for West and Middle Tennessee west of the Cumberland Plateau (; at that point staying up most of the night had caught up to me and I dosed off, two hours later my now ex-roommate woke me up being a jerk to me (looking back on it if it wasn't for him I would have slept through the tornado). They upgraded the watch to a PDS Tornado Watch ( as supercells were firing up west of the Nashville Metropolitan Area along the Tennessee River. This was my first ever PDS watch, I knew the watch meant one thing...........long track damaging tornadoes possible in the watch area. There were multiple tornado warnings to the west when I stepped out to a local tobacco shop for a pack of cigarettes when at around 11:45 I heard the outdoor warning siren (located on the campus of Middle Tennessee State) sounding; one of my neighbor's friend who was visiting from out of town asked me what was going on and I told her there were tornado warnings issued and one was just issued for the M'boro area. I ran upstairs to my apartment to see on TV that indeed a tornado warning was issued and that a funnel cloud was sighted east of Franklin (this was not the storm that produced the EF4), I quickly grabbed my camera and weather radio and ran outside (if it was coming my way I want front-row seats).

These were some photos I shot about fifteen minutes before the tornado came through unaware at the time a touchdown occurred about 5-6 miles west of me in the Blackman community

Around 12:30 I ran back to my apartment and my ex-roommate told me it had passed through and the danger was over, no sooner than he said that it started to hail (I'd say the hailstones were the size of quarters nothing too big), I stayed on the first floor of the two story complex until the hail stopped. I ran back out to the church parking lot located in front of my apartment to wait for storm to move through hoping I would get a faint glimpse of this tornado. This was shot about five minutes after the hail came through and as you can see and hear my adrenaline was in high gear....

I had no clue of the seriousness of the situation that was going on about 2-3 miles to my north (a tornado emergency was declared for Murfreesboro and quite frankly I didn't give a it was a tornado in front of me and I'm seeing it not from TV or internet but in person. As it moved away I ran back to my apartment, my neighbors were outside looking for it when I told them it passed to the north and it's wrapped up in rain. The track of this tornado was somewhat unusual as it touched down southwest of town, moved northeastward, then became a right mover, and then making a southeastward turn as it lifted in the Lascassas community. The storm knocked out power at my apartment for four hours along with taking out a few Verizon towers which made it next to impossible for me to get a hold of my mom to tell her about the tornado and that I was ok because I had a feeling this thing did some serious damage and there was gonna be media coverage out the ass on this storm (the area the tornado hit is heavily populated and the size of this beast meant that I was gonna hear about the area between M'boro and Walter Hill was destroyed).

When power was restored I turned on the local news to see that my premonition did indeed come true and that the Northern section of Murfreesboro particularly the Tomahawk Trace area and the intersection of Haynes and Sulfur Springs Road were completely destroyed by this EF4 tornado and sadly two people perished in this storm (a young mother and her infant daughter). Reality had set in and my feeling of bliss and accomplishment was replaced with sadness and guilt for the victims of the storm, I got what I wanted and still had a roof over my head while the victims didn't ask for it and some wound up losing love ones over it. I do have to say it was a humbling experience as I learned many lessons from this day and it reignited my love and ambition for storm chasing.

In the two years since the tornado the area hardest hit has been rebuilt, several more sirens were installed so that all points in M'boro could be warned if out and about, and personally for me what was a very turbulent point in my life became much smoother and more enjoyable, hell just today I received a phone call from my best friend in high school whom I haven't talked to in nearly ten years who found me through my storm chasing endevors.