Storm Events Database

Event Details

Event Tornado
-- Scale EF2
-- Length 4.92 Miles
-- Width 200 Yards
State GEORGIA
County/Area FULTON
WFO FFC
Report Source NWS Storm Survey
NCDC Data Source CSV
Begin Date 2008-03-14 20:38:00.0 EST-5
Begin Location 2WSW ATLANTA
Begin Lat/Lon 33.77/-84.43
End Date 2008-03-14 20:48:00.0 EST-5
End Location 4SE ATLANTA
End Lat/Lon 33.74/-84.35
Deaths Direct/Indirect 1/0 (fatality details below, when available...)
Injuries Direct/Indirect 30/0
Property Damage 25.00M
Crop Damage 0.00K
Episode Narrative A series of vigorous upper-level disturbances were racing through a fast zonal flow across the southern states. A supercell thunderstorm developed across north central Alabama and tracked southeast into northwest Georgia and eventually across downtown Atlanta, spawning an EF2 tornado that tracked right through the heart of downtown Atlanta. This was the first recorded incident of a tornado touchdown in downtown Atlanta. The tornado wreaked havoc on the downtown streets as it tracked from the Vine City neighborhood on the west, across the I-75/85 corridor, through the Cotton Mill Lofts, and into extreme western DeKalb county before weakening. One death was reported and dozens were injured as they were trapped in downtown buildings amidst debris. Damage was in the millions.
Event Narrative A ground and aerial survey conducted by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Peachtree City, Georgia in cooperation with the Atlanta Police Department, confirmed that an EF2 tornado tracked through the heart of the city of Atlanta causing millions of dollars of damage to buildings, including several high rise business and/or hotel buildings, within the downtown Atlanta area. The tornado also resulted in one death and 30 non-life threatening injuries. The death occurred on Decatur Street across from the Martin Luther King MARTA station.
The tornado first touched down near the intersection of Simpson and Burbank Streets in the Vine City neighborhood just west of downtown Atlanta. The tornado then tracked near due east over the center of the Georgia World Congress Center, about 100 yards north of the Georgia Dome, which was concurrently hosting an SEC basketball conference, across the CNN Omni Hotel Complex and the Phillips Arena, where an NBA basketball game was underway, across the Equitable Bank tower, across the Interstate 75/85 Downtown Connector at the Edgewood Exit, and then into the Cotton Mill Lofts across the Oakland Cemetery located near the Fulton/DeKalb county line. The tornado then weakened, but continued into extreme western DeKalb county before finally lifting for good.
The tornado had a total path length of six miles, five of which fell within Fulton county, and a maximum path width of 200 yards. Maximum wind speeds were estimated at 130 mph, which is a high end EF2. The tornado had a path width of 100 yards as it moved across the Georgia World Congress Center and CNN Omni Hotel complex and was ranked an EF1 at that point.
At least 50 homes were damaged by the tornado, as were several multi-story towers and commercial buildings near and east of Centennial Olympic Park. Windows were blown out of several of these high rise tower buildings at multiple heights. Damage in residential and industrial areas ranged from roofing materials blown from homes and businesses to trees falling on structures and vehicles. The Cotton Mill Lofts experienced some of the most significant damage with the roof blown off and exterior walls on the top or fourth floors blown inward. Two sections of the fourth flour collapsed all the way into the basement of the building, trapping several people. Most of the injuries observed were associated with this damage.
Damaged buildings and structures in the downtown Atlanta area included two Hermes 65-foot tall light towers at Centennial Olympic Park, the CNN Center/Omni Hotel, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Equitable Bank Building, Georgia-Pacific Building, Georgia World Congress Center, Grady Hospital, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, Martin Luther King Center, Oakland Cemetery, SunTrust Building, Tabernacle, Ted's Montana Grill, Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, and Walton Building Barbershop.
In addition to the damage reports, a wind gust of 83 mph was measured at Atlanta Fire Station No. 13 at 447 Flat Shoals Road Southeast in Atlanta, and a wind gust of 65 mph was measured at Atlanta Fire Station No. 4 at 309 Edgewood Drive in Atlanta.


Event Fatality Details

Type Age Gender Fatality Location
Death Not Available Male Outside/Open Areas


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All events for this episode:

Location County/Zone St. Date Time T.Z. Type Mag Dth Inj PrD CrD
Totals: 1 30 26.100M 0.00K
LAKE CREEK POLK CO. GA 03/14/2008 19:10 EST-5 Thunderstorm Wind 50 kts. EG 0 0 50.00K 0.00K
KENNESAW COBB CO. GA 03/14/2008 20:00 EST-5 Hail 1.00 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
ATLANTA FULTON CO. GA 03/14/2008 20:38 EST-5 Tornado EF2 1 30 25.000M 0.00K
VISTA GROVE DE KALB CO. GA 03/14/2008 20:48 EST-5 Tornado EF1 0 0 50.00K 0.00K
DRAKETOWN HARALSON CO. GA 03/14/2008 20:49 EST-5 Hail 0.75 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
OXFORD NEWTON CO. GA 03/14/2008 21:36 EST-5 Hail 0.75 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
EAST PT FULTON CO. GA 03/14/2008 21:54 EST-5 Hail 0.88 in. 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
ATLANTA HARTSFIELD I CLAYTON CO. GA 03/14/2008 22:03 EST-5 Hail 1.75 in. 0 0 1.000M 0.00K
Totals: 1 30 26.100M 0.00K