Saturday, April 08, 2006

KW, Alive and Well

As a Hendersonville resident who was driving home from Louisville Friday afternoon, I have received numerous phone calls in the last 24 hours from friends and loved ones hoping to learn I was alive and well (for those readers who do not know, Middle Tennesse and Sumner County specifically--where I live--were hammered by dozens of tornados last night, causing a death toll in the state that currently stands at 12...8 in my county alone.) I am fine. But you concerned people are running up my cell phone minutes something fierce. So I figured I would post a note regarding my well-being to the blog, and start directing the callers to the site.

Twice on 65 south yesterday I was forced to pull off the road and seek shelter. Both times a tornado crossed the highway frighteningly near to my location. Then I'd get back on the road and find it so covered with golf-ball hail that it resembled snow on the ground. About 30 minutes before I got home the Metro Baptist church at Long Hollow Pike and 65 was hit hard. Here's a couple shots of it (I'm sure many of you have seen images like these on national news broadcasts...this church seems to be one of the predominant images circulating the country--though these came from my camera):

That church is about 2.5 miles from my apartment.

I can tell you that there is a lot of devastation (as the local news will attest). There are complete subdivisions that simply don't exist anymore. It's a strange thing to see this kind of destruction in person instead of on TV...and even stranger still to realize that these neighborhoods are but a couple miles from my apartment. It could easily have been any of us up here. I am very lucky. I had a tornado north of me, one that formed East of me, and another northeast of me. The sirens all bled together. I cannot drive to my girlfriend's house today without crossing the line of debris left by one of them.

At one point I was stuck on 65 in stand-still traffic as a tornadic storm to my right inched closer and closer to us. I thought I was going to have to abandon the car and dive into a ditch. Thankfully I reached my exit just before the hail started and was able to get to safety.

This was a hell of a storm system, its line reaching from north of Louisville south into Mississippi and Alabama. Many thousands have likely lost their homes...everything. Even more are without power--Goodlettesville and Gallatin are likely to stay without power for another 7 days. And yet here I sit in my apartment, watching television and composing a blog entry. Lucky.

These last few shots are not from my camera, but one is of the actual tornado that touched down on Gallatin Rd. (which I live on) and danced up the pavement into Gallatin, destroying and flattening nearly everything. The arial shot is one of the Gallatin neighborhoods.

I have seen people I know interviewed on the news in front of where their house used to stand.

The Red Cross has announced they have all the volunteers they need, but funds are still required. You can make a donation here. Please keep the residents of Sumner County--my neighbors--in your prayers, as well as those throughout the rest of the state and mid-west who were so affected by this storm system.


At 4/09/2006 08:37:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Honestly, KW, I briefly thought that you might be close to one of these storms, but I didn't think of Hendersonville that much as the news was all over Gallatin and Goodlettsville--scary to hear you were closer than I thought--glad to hear you are unscathed.

Did you happen to see a tornado during all of this commotion, or were you informed that one was close?

At 4/09/2006 01:45:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

I saw a couple, but both were headed away from me when I spotted them. Wish I'd had my camera handy then, but I was more concerned with safety than photography.

Hendersonville had a couple touchdowns, but not nearly the damage in the other two cities. But I'm on the outskirts of Hendersonville, practically in Rivergate and about 2 miles from Goodlettesville city limits. was really all around me. Glad to have been lucky.

At 4/09/2006 11:00:00 PM, Blogger Kevin Rector said...

I'm glad you're not dead KW. If you were dead, I'd be sad?


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