This is the last of a series of posts suggested by a recent pictorial article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about memorable events which have taken place here.
It was about 6:15 or 6:20 on the evening of March 28, 2000, when Sharon and I heard the sirens go off. It takes a pretty major weather event to make that happen, so we quickly glanced out our driveway door and looked to the southwest, since, as usual, that’s where the wind was coming from.
Seeing nothing in that direction, we moved to our back patio to look to the north. That’s when we saw it. We were in no danger, since it was some distance away and the wind was not blowing it toward us, but what we saw was a huge tornado.
It touched down just west of—and moving toward—downtown. The tornado was approximately a quarter of a mile wide, and it moved along the ground for some four miles before beginning to dissipate.
In its wake, it left 100 homes damaged, in addition to several major downtown buildings. Total damage is estimated at about $560 million in current dollars. For a storm that only lasted about ten minutes, that’s a lot of damage.
The Bank One Tower, pictured above in the wake of the storm, was one of the most beautiful in the area before the storm hit. This building, along with several other severely damaged high-rises, was eventually rebuilt and now houses residential apartments.
Calvary Cathedral, pictured below after the storm went by, wasn’t so fortunate. It was damaged beyond repair. The church eventually bought another building away from downtown and moved it, leaving this one to be razed.
One consequence of this disastrous ten minutes was the beginning of a new trend in city living. The rebuilding of the Bank One Tower with residential apartments sparked a major move toward downtown high-rise living. As a fan of the sprawling, low-density cities of the southwest, I personally find this trend sad. We are becoming more and more a high-rise, high-density city like New York. As usual, though, I’m in the minority on this. Most locals see this trend as a good thing.
What natural disasters have changed the character of your hometown?
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