Remembering our own natural disaster

First of all, isn’t the sunshine this morning nice? We have been blessed with cloudy, rainy mornings this summer! Enjoy this.

Today, we’ll see partly cloudy skies and perhaps an isolated afternoon shower. Tonight is probably the better night of the week to head to the Fair. If we can clear out by Saturday evening, that would be a great time too, but I’ll have to keep an eye on that forecast, for sure. Tomorrow, rain from Harvey begins to arrive and that will stick around right on through at least the first half of Saturday. Rain could be heavy at times on Thursday and we may even see some stronger storms. I’ll keep you posted. Highs each day will be in the 70s, getting more humid each day. Tropical systems are notorious for bringing up very humid, tropical air.

As you know, one of the country’s worst natural disasters continues to unfold over east Texas. Last night, heavy rains once again pounded the Houston area. The National Weather Service is now saying the economic impact to our country will likely be unlike anything we have ever seen. I’m not looking forward to the news that we’ll be hearing from there throughout this week.  The storm is currently back over the water and has gained a little strength. The tropical storm is expected to make landfall again on the Louisiana coast Wednesday afternoon. The storm will then track northward and right over Middle TN on Friday and Saturday. By then, the storm will have weakened substantially and only bring some gusty winds and heavy downpours of rain. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us get 2-4″ of rain.

As we watch this natural disaster unfold, I’m reminded of our own natural disasters right here in Cumberland County. We always bounce back, and the folks of Texas will too. It just takes time. During the afternoon of August 29, 1990 the afternoon skies darkened over Crossville and hailstones began to fall. These were hailstones like many around here had never seen before. Some folks described the stones as being the size of bricks, according to official storm reports filed by the National Weather Service. If that weren’t enough, the stones were being thrown by 75 mph winds. These winds also flipped trailers and peeled roofs from houses. Car windshields all over town were smashed, as were store front windows and anything glass caught facing the wind. The siding on people’s houses was pitted with hail, some scars showing signs of hailstones the size of softballs. The Fair was in town and I think every light bulb there was smashed. What were the chances we’d get a hailstorm while the Fair was here? Fifteen thousand acres of crops were destroyed. Eleven people were injured, but thankfully no one was killed. Pine trees were stripped of their needles near Monterey and many of them never recovered.  Krystal was being built at that time and had significant damage from wind and hail. Total damages from this one storm were estimated at 30 million dollars!  It was quite the storm!

We hadn’t seen anything like that in our county since the April 3, 1974 tornado that hit the Plateau Road area. We wouldn’t see anything like the 1990 storm again until May of 1995 when hail and tornadoes hit our county.

That hailstorm was part of an isolated t-storm that came across eastern Middle TN during that afternoon. Farther north, over Indiana, many more storms were erupting. This same system spawned tornadoes the day before over Illinois. In fact, the only F-5 tornado ever recorded in the month of August in the United States was recorded on August 28, 1990 in Plainfield, Illinois and was spawned by this same storm system.

So, let’s enjoy this sunshine this morning and remember, there’s a lot of folks in this country who would love to trade places with us right now.

Today is also the anniversary of the last disaster to surpass all disasters in this country. Hurricane Katrina hit 12 years ago this morning. I’ll have much more on that tomorrow!

Current track forecast for Harvey

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