I think Atlanta has it out for me. Last weekend I got to enjoy snow while camping at the races. This weekend, another tooth fairy and I went back over to Atlanta for the big Hinman Dental convention and experienced an F2 tornado! Something tells me to stay the H*ll out of Atlanta for a while!
My friend and I were having a great Friday evening after a rather interesting day of lectures! We enjoyed a nice meal at the Hard Rock Cafe, met up with some other Tooth Fairies from South Carolina, and we all decided to go up to the Sun Dial Lounge in the Westin Tower. The glass elevator that takes you up is on the outside of the building, so you get to watch the street level get smaller and smaller as you ascend to the top. This rotating restaurant and lounge is 72 stories up with glass all around you, giving you a beautiful view of Atlanta's downtown area. We noticed that it started to rain and we were seeing a lot of lightning in the area.
We were ooohing and ahhhing over the beautiful light show, when all of a sudden something kind of large flew past the window and caught my eye. Two of us said, "Did you just see something?" We started watching toward the window wondering about the rain, when suddenly, we could see SEVERAL things flying around beyond the window. These "things" we were seeing were about the size of cooler lids of various shapes and they were slamming against the window with violent force. We started hearing loud popping noises, as if there were small explosions of glass, or debris hitting the building. I realized in that instant, that while being 72 stories high in the sky, and being able to see this many objects flying in the air at one time, something is seriously wrong! I looked over at my friend, and she had already slide out of her chair, down to the floor trying to get as low as she could. She revealed to me later, that she was seeing the windows shaking. My thought was to get away from the glass. I think in an effort to keep MYSELF calm, I stared telling everyone in our party "Stay calm, don't panic, we need to get away from the glass!" We just started grabbing stuff, whether it was ours or not, and ran to the nearest cubby that was surrounded by walls. We found ourselves huddled at the entrance to the Men's Room, waiting until it calmed down enough to venture back out to the open area. The outside glass elevator was not in operation, and only ONE of the four internal elevators were working, to take every one back to ground level. It took us about 30 minutes to get our feet back on the ground.
When we started walking back to our hotel, which was only two blocks away, we saw the debris everywhere. Insulation hanging from trees like tinsel, large pieces of foam big enough to float on were scattered around here and there. It looked like a war zone.
This tall round structure is the Westin Tower. We can't believe our fortune that this building appears to only have suffered from some blown windows. The Georgia World Congress Center, where our meetings were being held, suffered much more structure damage. We ate lunch at the CNN Center the day before all this, and it has endured some major damage as well. The SEC Basketball Tournament was taking place in Atlanta this weekend also, and only brought more people in the path of this startling storm. We reflected later, the fact that we had no warning this was going to happen. The employees told us they did not know of any weather warnings for our area either, when we asked them about it.
During the aftermath, I witnessed several Motorcycle Cops moving about performing various duties, and I thought to myself the extreme riding conditions they were having to deal with. Not only did the rain continue to come and go, you had power lines down, large structure debris laying everywhere, and shrubbery from small trees adding to the numerous hazards to avoid. My salute goes out to them!
I experienced something this weekend that put a lot of things into a somewhat different perspective. I thanked God for putting his angel on my shoulder that night. I think I had a little help coming out of that one with nothing more than wide eyes and a good story. Lady R