Christiana family feels destructive power of EF-2 tornado first hand


Tornadoes are one of mother nature’s most violent storms.  They tear apart homes, cut through trees, and throw debris for miles.

Middle Tennessee averages about eight tornadoes a year.  So far in 2019, the National Weather Service has confirmed three tornado touchdowns.  In 2018, there were 17 tornadoes, and in 2019, 23 tornadoes.

In the last ten years, 47 people have been killed in tornado-related incidents.  During a tornado outbreak in November of 2018, one person was killed.

John Erdmann remembers the night of November 5th, 2018 very well.  He was watching News 2 and started to hear News 2’s chief meteorologist Danielle Breezy mention street names by his home in Christiana.  He decided to wake up his wife and son and they went downstairs to hunkered down in a bathroom. 

He describes the next moments to us, “The house shook violently. We heard, well people say it is a train but for us, it was a loud roar.”  He also said that “you could hear metal ripping off the house and then just a lot of rumbling of the furniture hitting the walls.  It was just very loud.”

Thankfully they were all ok, however, their house and everything around them was a different story. Their 3rd floor caved in and their cars were impaled.  Furniture was scattered and tossed with glass everywhere.  John said, “it’s unbelievable but then it is also like we are thankful that we are all still alive.”

They took a direct hit from the EF-2 tornado that unfortunately killed one person.  That was one of the strongest out of 9 tornadoes to hit that night.

According to the Fujita Scale that measures tornadoes, an EF-2 is a medium tornado.  An EF-2 can have winds between 111mph-165mph.  Mobile homes could be destroyed, severe damage to large buildings and higher stories of homes is also possible.  Additionally, cars can be lifted from the ground.

So like, Erdmann, it’s important to know where to go when the threat of a tornado lingers and take action when you hear the words “Tornado Warning.”  Find the lowest point in your home like a basement.  Stay away from outside walls and windows.  If possible, go to the center of the room.

If you are in a mobile home, find shelter in a sturdier building.  If that’s not an option, lie in a ditch or low-lying area and use your arms to protect your head.

Now, John Erdmann is rebuilding with some extra safety features this time around.  Learn more about his efforts to keep his family safe tonight on News 2 at 10.

Watch more special reports from News 2’s Summer Weather Safety Day.

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