Tuesday, January 25, 2011

14 years and 2 tornadoes ago

I can't often say that I remember what I was doing 14 years ago, but today I can. January 25, 1997 was the day of the RIAT: Riverdale Invitational Academic Tournament. Our quiz bowl team hosted it every year in January, and this is the only one I can tell you the exact date it was held.

Why? Because it was the day after the F4 tornado that we saw coming towards the annex building where we were prepping for the tourney. Rachel and Lacey came running out of the teacher's lounge yelling, "Funnelcloud! Funnelcloud!" I went in and looked out  the window and saw it coming towards us. We all went to the principal's office to take cover. (This was in the evening after school and only the quiz team was there.)

Miraculously the tornado lifted up and jumped over the building. The whole school was unscathed. Unfortunately the surrounding neighborhoods had massive amounts of destruction. At that point in my life I did not fully realize the impact that the tornado had on the people in those neighborhoods. I understood years later when I encountered my second tornado in my own neighborhood.

My mom got to the school not long after the tornado went through the area. I remember that she had our sheltie Rhett with her. Mom had just picked him up from the kennel because we had been out of town for most of the week because my Grandma E. had just died. Yeah, it was one crazy week!


  1. It's funny what we can remember.

    The one funnel cloud that touched down in the neighborhood I grew up in jumped around like that as well. You would see tons of damage and then a section of homes that were untouched, then more damage.

  2. What triggered the memory for me was somebody was mentioning tornado warnings in Florida. It made me remember that it was around this time of year that we had the tornado before RIAT. So strange how memory works.