That is, spared but for loss of power that had the place shut down as of 10 a.m. local time this morning — and some damaged small trees on the property’s perimeter and one cracked and precariously leaning power pole on the back part of the lot near the truck exit. That could be among other issues that aren’t obvious to the naked eye, but “wiped out” it is not — I heard a rumour to that effect flying around in the early morning.
I contacted this morning a manager at the stop I know from past coverage of the location, wishing his staff well and hoping every driver who overnighted there was OK. I haven’t yet heard back. The tornado that ran through my Nashville neighborhood in the wee hours crossed I-24 on its way here I would guess less than a mile northwest of the truck-stop location, shutting down that road with at least one overturned truck that has since been cleared. Areas of I-40 east of town also were closed for some time with this and at least one other tornado outbreak.
TA Petro posted this note via social media early this morning: “Our TA in downtown Nashville at I-24 and James Robertson Pkwy currently has no power due to the tornado. Please be safe if you’re in the area and we’ll keep you updated.”
Clearly, the word that the stop was closed for the time being hadn’t gotten all the way around. This hauler was one of several I saw diverting back to I-24 after attempting to exit to park.
And I do not know how these things get started, but I’ll say that rumors spread around, apparently via social media, that the stop was “wiped out,” as intimated above, are just patently false. They most definitely dodged a bullet, though. Neighborhoods both west, just north, and east were hit hard. For the relative few truckers still in the lot this morning — some got going after breaks while I was briefly on the scene — things seemed to be as ‘business as usual’ as they can in a town just hit by a tornado.
Another overhead view, this one of the stop’s building.
Keep all of us down here in your thoughts. It’s a pretty big mess in my neighborhood of East Nashville, the tornado having followed a roughly similar path to the one in 1998 that came through here, predating my residence. My family and closest friends seem to have emerged unscathed, excepting a piece of a big tree that fell in a friend’s front yard a half-block away, demolishing part of a fence and barely missing the neighbors’ house. My daughter’s school took a hit with roof and water damage, and some other friends’ houses, churches — and the coffeehouse I speak to many of you from in my quiet little corner there, day to day … well, it’s not pretty. We’ll all be cleaning up for a while.
This video shows an overhead view from the street where my daughter went to preschool some years ago, and it’s really, really devastating there:
Arterials through East Nashville if you’re delivering in the area remained closed this morning — chiefly Gallatin Ave./Main Street near to downtown (pictured is a business on Main in the direct path of the tornado near 7th/8th streets, in the process of clearing internal and external damage). Crews were on the scene working on power lines, traffic lights and the like, as businesses along the route picked up. For areas east of town, check local Twitter feeds and other resources for local roads — major interstates appear to be as of now unaffected.
The storm system reached as far east as Cookeville, I hear, about an hour’s haul down I-40, where another tornado touched down. My friend Andy Soucy, owner-operator out of Lebanon between here and there, reports he’s heard his house is fine but there was plenty disruption very close by the interstate exit off which he lives. He’s in Canada at the moment on a haul, a long way from home.
I know a lot of folks need a hand around here. If you’ll excuse me today, I’ve got the work gloves handy. Time to get out and help pick up some more.