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Sunday, March 16, 2008


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


TS said...

Amazing--we're glad you're both in one piece!

"Joker" said...

Holy @#%! I'm so glad you are alright!

We used to have friends in Buckhead, and we drove up from a Florida vacation to visit them back in '99. After showing us around the city, they capped off the day by taking us to the top of the Westin. My wife got queasy in that glass elevator! We polished off an excellent bottle of red zinfandel while watching the beautiful view of Atlanta rotating around us. It was a great day.

I'm trying to imagine being there while an F2 whipped around outside...WOW. I've been through a few hurricanes here in New England, but nothing to equal being 72 stories up and enclosed by glass during a tornado!

Yeah, maybe you'd best give Atlanta a rest for a while, and stay away from the Men's Room!

Lady R (Di) said...

ts, we are glad to be in one piece too! It's a good thing it wasn't a stronger storm.

Joker, I grew up in Iowa, so tornadoes are not new to me. I will have to say, this was the first time I tried to get up close and personal with one!

FLHX_Dave said...

Wow! I'll take an earthquake over a tornado anyday. Geez, the only thing I saw while in Atlanta was the Coca-Cola museum. I have an extremely active imagination and I could see the whole thing as you described it. I don't know if then mens room entrance was the safest place for a hot dental hygienist. Glad everything is ok. Hmmm...maybe we could remake the movie the Wizard of Oz with a whole biker theme. Might be fun. Keep riding the yellow brick road!

Lady R (Di) said...

Dave, I'll ride the yellow brick road anytime, as long as I don't have to contend with the flying monkeys. I hear they are pretty obnoxious!

Ronman said...

I was Uncle Henry in the play back in the sixth grade......ya think I could have the part again on my scooter? Having seen tornados up close and personal I know that it's no fun at all. I saw the one that hit Nashville back in the 90's from the cab of a semi on I-65. Thanks to being a Ham Radio op I was told when to hit the shoulder by our net control.......Main thing is that our Lady Ridesalot is safe.......


Lady R (Di) said...

Thanks Ronman. Hey, wasn't Uncle Henry the Lion? He was always my favorite. When I was a little girl, my Dad and I would play fight. "Come on, I'll fight ya with one paw behind my back. I'll fight ya with my eyes closed even!" LOL! With you on the road a lot, I bet you have moved around plenty of storms. Ride safe, whether on 2 wheels or 18.

Camron said...

I'm somewhat of a thunder hound. If there's thunder & lightening, I'll be in heaven. I moved from the heart of tornado alley (kc, Mo) to Southern Cal several years ago and quickly discovered there's no thunder here! I haven't slept very well since.
That said, I don't think I'd want to be 72 stories in the air with that blowing by.
Glad you made it through ok, Thanks for sharing!