JACKSON, Tenn. – July 25, 2003 – Several Tennessee Baptist college students, working as summer interns at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home in Bartlett, escaped serious injury July 22 during a severe thunderstorm that caused millions of dollars in damage and knocked out power to more than 300,000 people in Memphis and Shelby County.
|Union student Kristin Edwards points out a tree downed by harsh winds at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home in Barlett.|
Kristin Edwards, 21, was sleeping inside her on-campus apartment when the violent storm hit the school. Nearly 100 trees were uprooted, including a massive oak tree that crashed to the ground just 25 yards from where Edwards was sleeping.
No injures were reported on the campus. However, there was minor structural damage to several buildings. All but one of the cottages was vacant at the time of the storms. Most residents were away at camps or vacation.
Edwards, a Union University student who survived the May tornadoes in Jackson, said she was shaken by the storm.
"The wind was so bad. I woke up and the doors were banging against the apartment. Since I was in Jackson during the tornado, I knew it was pretty bad. We didn't have any power. We heard lots of noise, especially when the tree fell," she said.
Edwards was relieved to discover the tree missed striking her car, which was recently repaired from damage sustained during the Jackson tornado.
Kimberly Higgs, a student at the University of Tennessee-Martin and a member of the First Baptist Church, Martin, was also asleep when the storms hit. She said the noise was incredible.
"Afterwards, we drove around the campus and there were so many trees down and so much debris," Higgs said.
The National Weather Service reported winds gusting up to 100 mph struck Memphis with sustained winds at more than 70 mph.
"We were shocked when we saw what happened," Edwards said. "I'm just glad that no one on our campus was hurt."
By Todd Starnes
Dir. of University Communications