The SEC tournament was in Atlanta five years ago when a tornado hit downtown. It hit as thousands of people were inside the Georgia Dome watching basketball.
The EF-2 tornado tore through the area with winds of 135 mph, cutting a six mile path of destruction through downtown Atlanta.
Debris littered the street and windows were blown out. It looked like a different downtown Atlanta.
"We all knew there was going to be a tornado outbreak, but we thought it was going to be Saturday," meteorologist Paul Ossmann said.
His forecast for Friday, March 14, 2008 changed drastically, and quickly.
"All of a sudden on the radar you see this cell developing," Ossmann said.
"At one point I looked up and the sky was kind of like green, was almost green and swirling toward CNN and the dome," photographer Jon Goss said.
Goss was working on a story downtown, a few blocks from the Georgia Dome.
"All of a sudden the wind started blowing as hard as I've ever felt. There was all this construction equipment out, so it literally just flew off, like the Wizard of Oz, just flew down Mitchell Street," Goss said.
Inside the dome, 20,000 plus fans were unaware of what was happening around them.
"Mykal Riley with Alabama sunk a 3-point shot which sent the third game into overtime and it was shortly after the game went into overtime that the storm hit the building," Georgia Dome GM Carl Adkins said.
If the game had let out on time, thousands of Alabama and Mississippi State fans could have been outside and in the tornado's path.
"I am convinced it saved a number of lives. There literally would have been thousands of people on the street and with all the glass that was thrown from the Congress Center, the Omni Hotel and the debris, there's no telling how many injuries and likely deaths. It literally did save lives in my opinion," Adkins said.
After the tornado passed, fans filed out of the dome in droves, dismayed and dumbfounded by the damage outside. Water rushed down the steps at the World Congress Center. Buildings crumbled. Windows were blown out of the Omni Hotel and nearby Westin Peachtree Plaza where fans were staying.
"All of the hotel rooms that lost their windows, no one was in those because they were there to see the tournament, to see the ball game. We could have had people literally pulled out of their rooms and thrown out in the middle of the street," former Fire & Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine said.
Mother Nature had her say but she didn't win.
"When I got there and saw the damage, I turned to my staff and I said, 'how many people died?' And I was expecting some huge number of death or serious injury. It's remarkable and it's simply because they were in that building," Oxendine said.
Temporary repairs were made to the dome within days, but the Westin Peachtree Plaza took two years to fix all the window panels. As a result of the tornado, most of the places affected updated their emergency plans.
Copyright 2013WGCL-TV(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:50:22 GMT
MOORE, OK (RNN) – In one of the few positive stories to come from the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma, an elderly woman was reunited with a four-legged friend she thought was dead. Barbara Garcia, a residentMore >
Elderly resident Barbara Garcia frantically called for her dog after the tornado had leveled her house, but with no success.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 6:56 PM EDT2013-05-20 22:56:26 GMT
Construction Crews in Flowery Branch and parts of Hall County are working to repair several roads that caved in during the storm on Sunday.Jim McCrystal and his family live on Cove Creek. He and his neighborsMore >
Construction Crews in Flowery Branch and parts of Hall County are working to repair several roads that caved in during the storm on Sunday.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 5:16 PM EDT2013-05-20 21:16:44 GMT
DeKalb County Police confirm that a former NFL player David McMillan III was shot and killed in Decatur on Saturday. McMillan played for the Cleveland Browns from 2005 to 2007. Based on witness statementsMore >
DeKalb County Police confirm that a former NFL player David McMillan III was shot and killed in Decatur on Saturday.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 10:53 AM EDT2013-05-20 14:53:00 GMT
Georgia Lottery players statewide won big from Saturday's historic $591 million Powerball drawing. Winning tickets worth $1 million were sold at RaceTrac on Riverstone Parkway in Canton and Corner CupboardMore >
Georgia Lottery players statewide won big from Saturday's historic $591 million Powerball drawing.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 4:49 PM EDT2013-05-21 20:49:15 GMT
Man trapped after retaining wall collapse in Buford along Camp Ranch Road. CBS Atlanta News will have details. Check back for updates. Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights resMore >
Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services responded to a man trapped after a retaining wall collapsed in Buford along Camp Ranch Road.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 4:47 PM EDT2013-05-21 20:47:27 GMT
Monday night Pothole Harry was driving home. As he merged onto GA 400 northbound headed towards Buckhead, he noticed a motorist standing on the side on the interstate. But her car wasn't broken down. SueMore >
Monday night Pothole Harry spotted a woman on the shoulder of GA 400. When Harry stopped, he discovered the woman trying to rescue a family of geese.More >