Tuesday, November 27, 2012

18th anniversary of the Germantown, TN tornado

Aerial photo after the Germantown tornado,  November 1994.
Photo Credit: Commercial Appeal
Today marks the 18th anniversary of the most insidious severe weather event to strike Shelby County until Super Tuesday 2008.  Thanksgiving weekend 1994 brought the (E)F-3 "Germantown tornado" into southeast Shelby County, claiming 3 lives in one well-built large home and injuring 25 others along it's path.  From a recollection I published on the 15th anniversary of the storm:
Personal property damage was extensive, including roofs caved in, second stories collapsed, homes lifted off their foundations, windows broken, fences blown away, and trees downed, in addition to water damage from the heavy rain that accompanied the storm. In terms of structural damage, 28 homes were destroyed and 300 others damaged, with damage estimates totaling $25-30 million. There was significant structural damage to the front of Grace Evangelical Church on Dogwood Road and roof damage to Houston High School, located across the street from Grace church.
In addition,
...damage to Person's Gotten Way home [where the fatalities occurred] was so extensive that rescue dogs, helicopter-mounted infrared cameras, search probes, and heavy equipment had to be used to locate the bodies of the dead under all of the rubble. Two people were not recovered until the following morning.
I also wrote a recap of the storm on the 16th anniversary, 2 years ago today.  I invite you to read  (or re-read) these recaps and also check out these pictures taken by current Germantown Deputy Fire Chief Edgar Babian and this YouTube video of search-and-rescue operations taken by firefighter Tony Fischer.

The then-fledgling "Tennessee Task Force 1" urban search-and-rescue squad conducted operations after the tornado struck and just recently returned from more than a week in New York following Hurricane Sandy.

Were you in the Memphis area during this storm and what do you recall?

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1 comment:

Wayne Carey said...

A very very tragic event. Myself and a chaser friend was on the scene 20 minutes after the event. We were helping people who were disoriented by the event. There were kids in Houston High School practicing basketball when the gym's windows blew out. It was my first view of such devastation shortly after the event. Early that morning, shortly before going to Perkins for breakfast, I told my friend that it was too warm and too humid for just regular rain showers. I didn't have access to a radar like I do now. I will never forget that day!