Murfreesboro, TN Tornados | The Budget Savvy Bride
The Budget Savvy Bride

As many of you know from following my blog, or from seeing my updates on Twitter, I live in Murfreesboro, TN and our street was hit by an EF-3 Tornado at about 12:45-1pm on Good Friday. I can honestly say it was the scariest moment of my life.

I was home with my 2 sisters when we got a call from my dad at around noon… he told us that there were tornado warnings in the area and we were going to have to take cover. My sisters and I were just kind of getting up and moving- we’d all slept in much later than normal because of the holiday. We flipped on the television and saw the warnings flashing across the screen, so we knew we needed to be prepared. We all promptly got dressed, put on shoes, and brought our cell phones and some blankets in the laundry room off our kitchen- the only interior area sizable enough for the three of us to fit with our dog, Lacey and my cat, Steve Perry. After seeing the hail start to come down, we decided to pack in and wait out the storm- just to be safe. I sat next to the door and closed us up once we got the pets in the laundry room.

It was about ten to fifteen minutes before our power went out, and within another 10 minutes we started hearing pouring rain and rushing winds. The whipping sound of the tornado was pretty loud- loud enough for us to hear it inside the closet even though the tornado was 50 yards away. When the house started shaking, my heart skipped a beat and I began to panic… I reached out for my sisters hands and told them it was time to pray. I prayed for God to keep us safe and to put His Almighty hand over our home and protect it. Before my prayer was over, the shaking stopped and it got really calm. Because the power was out, we didn’t know if it was okay to leave our ‘safe place.’ I made the decision for us to stay inside the laundry until we knew the worst had passed- we knew there were multiple storms in the area. Also, our pets were freaking out and I didn’t want to risk letting them out and not being able to get them back into the tiny room in the event of another twister. We tried repeatedly to text both our parents with no luck. After another fifteen minutes or so, my father got through to us on my cell phone. He asked if we were okay- he sounded really worried. He said he’d heard from friends of ours that the tornado had come through our area and asked if we had looked outside yet. We decided it would be okay if we went out and had a look around. When we walked out our front door, this is what we saw:

I was completely blown away. The reality of how close this deadly storm was to us began to sink in and my sisters and I wept. We wept for our neighbors who lost homes it took years to build in seconds. We wept for joy to still be alive. We wept because we realized just how fragile life is and how quickly it can be taken from us. A woman and her 9 week old baby are the only two fatalities from a storm that stretched 15 miles through the town I’ve called home for the last 13 years. Their tragic deaths took place just 3 streets over from ours- it is so very sad but I am thankful that more were not killed. As I walked through the puddles and debris I saw the contents of people’s lives strewn across our normally clean streets. Underwear drawers, the entire contents of their refrigerators, family photos… it’s just completely devastating. There’s no other way to put it. Our street is the site of major devastation.

I can’t stop thinking about how close it was. I can’t stop thinking about how lucky I am. I cannot stop thanking God for protecting us, as we prayed for Him to during those terrifying moments when the storm swept across my street. Thank you GOD for protecting me, my family and our home. Our home was a mere 4 houses down from homes that are completely gone. As in, not there anymore. As in, flattened. As in, GONE!!! We are so very blessed and I feel so awful for the people who are going through this nightmare. My heart aches for them- our neighbors and friends.

More damage on our street:

Since the tornadoes took place, city workers and volunteers alike have helped out with cleanup. Tons of people have been around our neighborhood to look at the damage and ‘sightsee’ which I think is awful. They are hindering the cleanup and rebuilding process, for those who are able to rebuild. Crews have been working around the clock to restore power- which we finally got back this afternoon after 2 days without lights. Police officers are parked at BOTH ends of our street to keep unwelcome and unnecesary people off our street and to prevent people from ‘looting’ the abandoned homes. We have to show our drivers licenses with our address on them before we are allowed to access our home. It’s literally like a war zone here. I took these today:

It’s going to take a long time to rebuild the damage on our street, and for our neighbors to rebuild their lives. Please keep these families affected by the tornados in your thoughts and prayers.

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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    • Tara
    • April 13th, 2009

    Jessica,

    I am so glad you and your family are safe! I wept as I read this – the thought that this tornado came so close to you terrifies me. God is so good – you came through this and will marry your love in less than a month. Let me know if I can help with clean up in ANY way!

  1. OMG. I am so sorry. I’m glad you & your family are safe. My heart goes out to the mother and her 9 week old baby. How sad. I will definitely be saying a prayer for their families. :(
    Hopefully your community will band together to help each other out.

  2. I’ve been reading a long time, but this is my first time commenting. I am so glad that you and your family are okay. My parents live very close to Murfreesboro and they ended up okay too, thankfully.

    I was on the phone with my mom on Friday around noon (my sister and I don’t live in state and were flying in for Easter that evening) and she said that the sirens were going off and they had to get the dogs inside and take cover. She said she would call me back, and after a grueling 1/2 hour, I talked to her and she said they were okay.

    Very scary stuff — many blessings to everyone in your area.

    • Jessica
    • April 13th, 2009

    Wow. The pictures are amazing. And terrifying. I can’t believe all this devastation is right outside your door. I’m very glad you’re ok! Was your house damaged?

    • Marisa
    • April 13th, 2009

    Oh my goodness. You know, I thought of you when I heard the warnings here in Knoxville. We escaped the brunt of the storms, getting only heavy rain and some flickering lights.

    If you need anything — I’m serious here — let me know. Knoxville’s not too far away, and I have an SUV I can load up with supplies if you’re finding them to be scarce in your ‘hood. I couldn’t tell if your house suffered any damage.

    My thoughts are with you. You got very lucky, didn’t you?

  3. I live in Sevierville so I’m very aware of the storms that came through last week. Thankfully, they weren’t too bad over this way.

    I’m so thankful that you, your sisters and your house were kept safe. God is so good to us! When I heard on the news that the mother and baby were killed my heart broke. My prayers go out to everyone that has been effected by these storms.

  4. Wow. I’m glad you are okay.

  5. I’m glad to hear you and your family are safe. It’s amazing what devastation can be caused. About three years ago, the same thing happened in J’s hometown. It literally hopped over his parents’ house, and the entire town was in ruins. How scary!

    • seattlegirl
    • April 13th, 2009

    I read your blog quite often but I never usually comment. Praise God that you and your family are okay and may he bless your neighbors. May he bring them comfort and hope.

  6. HiJessica,

    I am so so sorry about your neighborhood. My heart goes out to you and your family, especially the neighbors who lost everything in a matter of seconds. I will continue to pray for you guys. May God continue to protect your state.

    Nadia

    • MsTeacherLady
    • April 13th, 2009

    I’m so glad you and your family are okay. I can’t imagine how scary that must have been, and I immediately started crying when I saw your pictures. I’m impressed that you’ve taken such positive things away from this horrible experience. You, your family, and your neighbors will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Oh my God, my heart goes out to you, your family and your whole neighbourhood. What a community to all come together in a time of need. I pray for a speedy restoration of your lives and neighbourhood!

    • DCKate
    • April 13th, 2009

    Oh my goodness, Jessica! I’m so glad you and your family are okay. That must have been terrifying, I can’t even imagine. Definitely reminds you of what is important.

  8. Jessica,

    Thank God for you and your family’s safety, and, yes! Prayer works. I, too, live in the ‘Boro, just off of Jones and Kingwood and across Northfield from your neighborhood. Take care, and good luck with your wedding.

    Visit my blog at http://www.wandaamericare.blogspot.com.

    ~Wanda

  9. God is SO AMAZING! He kept you and your family safe through the tornado and protected your house. He really is a faithful God! I cannot imagine the pain your neighbors who lost everything must feel. I will be praying for you and your community as the restoration process begins. God bless you Jessica!

  10. Jesus, Jessica. I had no idea it was so close to you. We hunkered down near the closets with the TV on, but it moved east before it went north, so we were spared.

    For your readers who are interested in helping, here’s info form the Red Cross. I’ll post this on my site too.

    HOW TO HELP

    You can help people affected by this disaster, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of all disasters. You can visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or mail your donation, to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

    You can also donate to help the victims of the Murfreesboro tornadoes at any Middle Tennessee Kroger store at the register as you check out. Just tell the cashier you would like to make a donation to the Red Cross for the Central Tennessee tornadoes.

    The Red Cross is NOT accepting any donations of clothing, furniture or any other material items.

    If you would like to volunteer, the CITY OF MURFREESBORO is asking you to call (615) 890-1934.

  11. oh my goodness! I’m so glad you and your family are ok! CRAZY how close it was. I’m so thankful that you are all safe. So, your house was not damaged at all? That is God! God had/has his hand on you and your family! HOW AMAZING IS HE!!! I will pray for your neighborhood and those that are affected.

  12. Wow. I am so glad that you and your family are okay. I’ll pray for your family and your neighbors.

  13. Oh my gosh!!! I’m so glad you and your family are safe and sound. God was watching over you. My prayers to the families affected, and like you said thank God there weren’t more deaths.

  14. I’m so glad to hear that you and your family are alright. I immediately thought about you when I heard the storms were in Murfreesboro. Definitely a scary day. Its disasters like this that make us realize the important things in life aren’t the material things that surround us, but faith that gets us through hard times and the loved ones who surround us.

  15. Oh wow. God is certainly good – thank heavens that your Dad called you. How amazing that with all that devastation only two people were killed…. it just shocks me. I hope people start respecting the loss people are feeling and stay away….

    • Jessica
    • April 13th, 2009

    I thought about you on Friday and wondered if the storm had hit near you. I am so glad to hear that you and your family are okay. I am so sorry for the loss of those around you.

    Your pictures are incredible. I just cant believe how many homes were destroyed. It is so pathetic that people would come there to loot! I hope any looters are shot!

    Again, I am so glad that you all made it through the tornado. My thoughts are with those whose homes were destroyed.

  16. I’m so sorry. My prayers are with you and your neighbors. Im so glad to hear you’re ok.

  17. My prayers are truly with you. Be well.

    • Marianne
    • April 13th, 2009

    Oh my gosh, Jess. Thank God for answering your prayers and keeping you, your sisters, your pets and your home safe!

    Please know my prayers are with you and your neighbours as you rebuild your community and your sense of security!

  18. wow jessica, it’s so sad and shocking to see these photos – and so amazing that it takes literally a second to destroy something that people work so hard to keep beautiful.

    i am so grateful and thankful that you are safe and sound. i’m thinking of you. xox

  19. I’m so glad to hear you’re okay. My heart goes out to your neighbors.

  20. Whooa that is just awful. I’m really glad you and your loved ones are OK and hope for a quick reconstruction… Good luck!

  21. OMG. It was devastating to look at the pictures you posted and to know that you guys were right in the middle of that. We are praying for everyone affected. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help…

  22. I almost started crying at work when I read this post and saw your pictures. You’re right, the perfect word is devasting. It’s heartbreaking to think about what your community is probably going through right now. I hope things are slowly getting better already.

  23. The pictures of your neighborhood gave me chills. How scary. Thank goodness you and your family are fine. Even more reason to celebrate in a little more than a week!

    • Jeff Bokesch
    • April 14th, 2009

    I too wept at your description of your experience. I used to run the Hollywood Video on Northfield Blvd. and I am glad that you made it through as you did. I used to live near the square in Murfreesboro and my neighbor across the street was John Bryant, who is one of the kindest, friendliest people I’ve ever met. His wife and child were the two killed in the storm and he is in the hospital still with severe physical issues and no one knows what kind of emotional issues. I haven’t spoken or seen John in a few years, since I moved out of Murfreesboro, but if anyone can help him in any way possible…please do.
    To see the devastation outside your front door is almost unbelievable, almost only because you have the pictures to make it real. I wish you, your family, your neighbors well, and please let any that can help with my friend John. I know your neighbors have a lot they need too, I just know with the losing Kori and his new baby, Olivia, John tops my list.
    Once again, thank you for sharing your story.
    Sincerely, Jeff Bokesch

    • SH
    • April 14th, 2009

    Oh my gosh I can’t even imagine! I’m glad you’re doing okay and will keep you and your town in my thoughts. Wow.

    • Kristy
    • April 15th, 2009

    Hey Girl,
    I am so thankful you and your family are okay. My husband and I live on Annadel Street in the Blackman Community (Royal Glen off Hwy 96) and were among the first to see the tornado on the ground. We thought at first it was coming right at us, but were fortunate that it missed us by less than a mile.

    Here are some photos I took off the front porch of my house:
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=103735&id=572448054&l=b7e71f90f2

    I remember being so scared that I started crying. I think I was more afraid of where it was going…toward you all. I am pretty sure that the tornado was an EF-2 in the photos I took, however, it grew to an EF-4 as it went over I-24.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all. If you need anything, Belle Aire Baptist is offering to help anyone in the community:

    If you are like me, you probably grow very nervous when storms are predicted in the area. I know I am going to have a hard time NOT being afraid of the weather.

  24. That’s really horrible and scary what you went through. I’m getting goosebumps just reading your posts. I’m glad you are alright. Will definitely keep you and your neighbours in prayer.

    • Kendra
    • April 21st, 2009

    I am so sorry to all the people who live in and around there. I hate to see what you all have gone and will have to continue to go through. On May 9th myself and my co-manager who run spencers s&d in cornersville will be hosting a benifit concert for all the tennessee storm victoms. We have a church that will be taking care of the donations and where to send it, but if there is anything that you or anyone might need please let us need as we would love to try and help. You can email at the email that I have provided. Again I am sorry and I will pray daily for you and your family along with everyone else who has been effected by this tragedy.

    God Bless

  25. wow. i had no idea that this happened! I’m so sorry that you had to go through that – what an awful experience! Good to see that you are safe & well.

  26. wow. i had no idea that this happened! I’m so sorry that you had to go through that – what an awful experience! Good to see that you are safe & well.

  27. wow. i had no idea that this happened! I’m so sorry that you had to go through that – what an awful experience! Good to see that you are safe & well.

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