Uneasy Night Filled With Local Tornado Warnings

When I went to bed last night, around 10:30, Fannin was under a tornado watch, and the weather radar showed a warning just south of Dalton. We have a LaCrosse 583301 weather radio, which is much better than the one we had before, because you can set it only for tornado warnings. It flashes a red screen to let you know you are under a watch, and then it turns on and wakes you up when an actual warning comes through.

It woke us up at least a half dozen times after 11:00, with warnings for Bradley County (Cleveland) and Polk County in Tennessee (Benton, Copperhill). I think I also heard Reliance, Tennessee mentioned. The closest one in Georgia was for Ellijay and East Ellijay, headed toward Ranger, Georgia (near Clark’s Lake). When I was up around 3:00, the screen was no longer flashing red.

We did not get extremely high winds or wind damage. There was about two inches in the rain gauge. The weather station at Mercier’s reported 1.15 inches. There did not seem to be any hail.

Most of our severe weather and thunderstorms come up from the vicinity of Anniston, Alabama. Most hit the Cohuttas on the western side, and kind of roll north past them and turn east again when they’re past. We can often see them over the rim, hammering Copperhill, and Coker Creek in Tennessee.

I used to think a tornado could never get through the Cohuttas, but a few years ago, I was proved wrong. Basically, it seemed to come right up the Murphy syncline, where 515 is located. It passed just a half mile or so north of Dividing Ridge, touching down near Hwy 60, a mile or so north of Mineral Bluff. That’s about two miles north of my house. One of my neighbors is a retired deputy sheriff from Broward County, in south Florida. He told me he’d ridden out many hurricanes, but that the tornado was the scariest thing he’d seen in his life.

I was in the downtown real estate office, and I knew something about tornados, because I’d lived for a time in the midwest. None of my colleagues would join me in the one room in the building that didn’t have any windows. They all stood there staring out the windows, apparently no knowing – or maybe not caring – that all the windows can implode and turn into shrapnel. It was plenty scary in downtown Blue Ridge as well.

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