Two years ago today, the southeast suffered a severe outbreak of tornadic weather. I remember the day well because we had been hearing the prior few days that the outbreak was going to be significant. I scheduled the office to close at noon that day because all the indications were that the storms would not reach us until the afternoon. It became clear as I drove into the office that morning with lightning flashing in the distance and the warnings already being issued to our west that the storms would be developing quicker than we expected.
We had strong storms and heavy rain beginning at about 8:30 that morning and by 10:00 am it was clear that everyone needed to be home. The storms continued throughout the day and into the evening with warning after warning of the possibility of tornados. I remembered thinking at 9:00 pm, after watching all of the devastation in Alabama, North Georgia and the counties to our east up the I-75 corridor that the worst was over. At about 11:00 pm my phone rang. The caller said that Spring City had been hit by a tornado and that there was significant damage down town. The ride into the office that night was the longest 15 minutes I can remember. As I drove south on Hwy 27 into town I was struck by the contrast of the east side of the highway being lit up and the west side of the highway completely dark except for the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles.
We were fortunate, that night, the office was not damaged and none of our staff or agents sustained any major damage at their homes. Others were not as fortunate. Approximately 20 homes just to the west of highway 27 were damaged or destroyed but thankfully there were no serious injuries. Just to our south, on Dayton Mountain a small community was severely damaged and unfortunately four people were killed.
Since that day, the area has been spared any real significant storm damage, and the community came together to rebuild and assist those who were effected. I hope that trend continues.