It was a rough day in Memphis yesterday. When I got to my office, it was almost 75 degrees outside, and humid. It didn't feel anything like February. It felt like April or May... and to a native Memphian, that means it felt like "tornado season."
Turns out, it was.
As I am sure many of you have heard by now, yesterday afternoon and evening we were the site of one of those cold-front/warm-front meetings that are never pretty. That picture above is what is left of one of our malls. 20, 000 people lost their power. 44 people in the Mid-South region (Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississsippi) lost their lives. Public schools were dimissed at noon in anticipation of the mayhem. The tornado warning sirens were sounding non-stop for about 5 hours, beginning around 4:30. Then, there was a break-- and then they started again last night. I still hear them in my head this morning.
Like most native Memphians, I tend to ignore tornado warnings and tornado sirens. (More on that later.) But yesterday, even I got worried at a couple of points. I was at a candidate's job talk when the sirens first started sounding, and we had to move the Q&A session to the hallway (away from windows). I feel sorry for that guy.
We're still assessing the damage this morning... but we know it's not good. In fact, you know it's really bad around here when people start comparing it to Hurricane Elvis (the wind-storm disaster of 2003), which people are doing.
I can't really offer any insight this morning. I'm still exhausted from yesterday. But I just wanted to report that I am safe, which means that I was lucky. More later...