The Dunwoody Tornado

I remember the night of April 8, 1998 well. I was living in Dunwoody, Georgia at the time. My ex-girlfriend was (if I’m not mistaken) in New Orleans, at a “group meeting” for her job. Since New Orleans is an hour behind Atlanta, and since her boss had treated everyone to a fancy dinner that night, it wasn’t especially unusual that she called me a few minutes before midnight to tell me about her day.

I remember the weather being bizarre that night. It was raining like I’d never seen before, there was so much lightning that it almost seemed like daytime, and it was windy… so windy, in fact, that the rain was falling sideways! The whole thing was so unusual that when my ex called I went out on the covered porch by the bedroom to describe it for her. We then continued talking for a half hour or so as I sat on the porch, watching leaves and small branches fly every which way. I remember bringing up the weather several more times in our conversation.

Although the weather was bad, I didn’t think anything of it… until I turned on the TV the next morning to catch the headlines before leaving for work. Not more than two miles away from me, this happened:

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

It’s now known as the “1998 Dunwoody tornado”, and it was so bad that it got its own Wikipedia page several years after the fact. The tornado itself wasn’t especially powerful, but when it hit Dunwoody it hit its greatest strength (an F2 on the Fujita Scale) and expanded to 800 yards across. Yes, the tornado was as wide as eight football fields!

I drove through the area pictured above the next day, and I know people often use the phrase “it looked like a bomb went off”, but in this case, it really did look like a nuclear bomb had gone off. Tress were ripped out of the ground and thrown hundreds of feet. Many houses were simply gone, and some of them were absolutely, completely gone. As in, there was only a concrete foundation left, and the yards where those houses once stood were completely empty of any debris. Not a single 2×4 or sheet of siding was seen anywhere.

It was surreal. It was depressing. I couldn’t believe that it’d happened.

God Bless Texas!

I’ll make no apologies for it: I love to eat, and I love to eat junk food. Now, I don’t eat Twinkies every day of my life, and although my dinners are typically heavy on the animal protein, I usually at least try to throw a couple of vegetables in the mix. But when it comes time to eat crap – like, I dunno… at a state fair or something – I can throw down like there’s no tomorrow.

The 2008 Texas State Fair is over now, but thanks to a foodie website I was able to pull up the fair’s menu. And my God… it almost makes me quiver just reading it! Here are some of the highlights:

Chicken Fried Bacon – Thick and peppery Farm Pac® bacon is seasoned, double-dipped in a special batter and breading and deep-fried. Served with a creamy side of ranch or honey mustard sauce.   Served at  N30 located on Nimitz at MLK. Winner of Best Taste in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Fried Banana Split – A mixture of banana and honey peanut butter is rolled in balls, battered and deep-fried and topped with assorted, delicious fixings, including powdered sugar, caramel and chocolate syrups, chopped peanuts, whipped cream and banana split flavored ice cream bites then fittingly crowned with the traditional cherry.  Served at the Auto Grill inside the Automobile Building. Winner of Most Creative in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Texas Fried Jelly Belly Beans – Jelly Belly Beans are rolled in funnel cake batter and fried to a crunch.  People can share the treat with friends and try to guess the flavors before biting down.  Enjoy at the Granny’s Funnel Cake stand C6 at the south side of the Coliseum and at Rico’s Burgers, stand C7, behind Gateway Pavilion. Finalist in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.

Continue reading “God Bless Texas!”