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Experiencing tornado anxiety in Nashville is unforgettable

As I looked at the images coming from tornado damage in Nashville, I can’t help but remember what it was like living in that city and dealing with its weather.

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.

Bill Bradley is sports editor at the Review-Journal. He can be reached at bbradley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2909. Follow @billbradleyLV on Twitter.

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