Nashville, like Las Vegas, is wonderful city that is very much based on entertainment. Greenery abounds when spring hits and a walk down Broadway is like seeing a never-ending street of honky tonks. The sports landscape is similar with NFL (Titans) and NHL (Predators) with a few more colleges than in Las Vegas.
Yet there was a big disparity in weather. While the rainstorms and occasional snow were an annoyance — and quite often fun — the tornado alert was unnerving.
Hearing these storms hit in the middle of the night Tuesday reminded me of the anxiety of living in a tornado alley.
These tornado watches frequently would occur at night and most often during the fall and late winter. A 1998 tornado — one year before I moved there — was fresh on the minds of central Tennesseans after it hit downtown Nashville.
Imagine watching prime-time TV and seeing a red scroll on the screen that alerted you were in a tornado watch until 2 a.m. While many people took a laissez-faire outlook to that news, for me that entailed a family meeting and deciding which parent stayed up to monitor TV until the watch subsided.
It was usually me who drew the short straw because I could find a West Coast college basketball or baseball game until the watch ended.
One time that alert — and the weather outside — told us something might touch down near us. I rousted the family and we huddled in the bathroom since the house didn’t have a cellar. We were told to wait somewhere without windows or under a stairwell and stay low.
The tornado didn’t hit but we could hear it. That’s a very memorable sound.
Living in nearby Spring Hill and working in downtown Nashville were experiences I will not forget. Being on alert for a tornado so often is something I never want to remember.