Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remembering the Super Tuesday Outbreak in the Mid-South



It was one year ago today that many Mid-Southerners were placing their votes on Super Tuesday with the threat of severe weather hanging over the region. That threat became reality late in the afternoon when the first tornado warning for Shelby County was issued as a tornado set down near Arlington and tore through NE Shelby County. About an hour later, another twister, this one stronger, touched down in DeSoto County south of the Memphis airport and moved quickly ENE into the airport area and Hickory Hill, destroying whatever was in its path and killing 3 in a warehouse. This tornado was briefly caught by live TV cameras mounted high above the city as it moved through Hickory Hill.

Later that evening, we all remember the tragedy, and yet good fortune, as an EF-4 hit Union University in Jackson, TN, injuring 51 as it tore apart the full dorms, but miraculously sparing everyone's life. In all, 23 tornadoes touched down on Super Tuesday in the Memphis National Weather Service's area of responsibility, 9 of which touched the 5-county metro area and 7 of which were rated EF-2 or higher. Nine souls were lost that day and over 100 injured. It is a day that will live on in Mid-South weather lore - February 5 ,2008.

Though much of the damage has been repaired and life goes on, many people will never outlive the memories of that day. Below are a couple of the pictures I took in the days following. You can view all of my pics here. The map at the top shows the paths of all tornadoes from 2/5/08 in the NWS-Memphis area. For more information on these storms and other tornadoes in the Mid-South, visit the very complete and detailed Mid-South Tornado Database.
A home in northeast Shelby County missing the second story


The Sharp Manufacturing plant in Hickory Hill, heavily damaged by a tornado

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