Residents reflect on area’s 1993 blizzard
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Mar 13, 2013 | 2939 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
‘The Storm of the Century’
“THE STORM OF THE CENTURY” — also known as “The Blizzard of ’93” — paralyzed the Cleveland and Bradley County community March 12-13, 1993, when it dumped an estimated 21 inches of snow onto area residents, most of whom had never witnessed this kind of snowstorm. Along with closing schools, shutting down businesses, collapsing roofs and disrupting daily life throughout Southeast Tennessee, it also forced the cancellation of the traditional Sunday edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner. Instead, a combined Sunday-Monday edition was printed.
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On March 12, 1993, it was sunny. Residents wandered outside, some even seeking tans because of warm temperatures and clear skies.

A storm was building — one which would be recorded in the history books locally as well as the nation.

It would become an intense “superstorm” and come to be called “The Storm of the Century.”

Carol Boyd-Housley was on the phone all night. She was supposed to meet a young man the next day which would be March 13.

Her first meeting was on the 12th and she “could not wait to see him again.”

The young couple sat up all night on the phone talking … all while a storm was dumping inch upon inch of snow.

“Easy to remember our anniversary when we first met!”

It was six days before the young couple got to see each other again.

There were babies born during the storm, and then another round nine months later.

Jennifer Price, a Banner news carrier had just given birth to her son Dylan.

Price said the hospital was without working plumbing after the storm.

“I was essentially trapped there. My mother was a nurse and she was on-duty when the storm hit,” Price said.

According to Robin Gibby, her friend Denise Carr had a child born during the storm.

Tage Carr was known as “snow baby” for many years in the McDonald community.

According to Denise, National Guard troops transported her to then-Bradley Memorial Hospital.

That was on Sunday morning and icing continued in the deep snowfall.

“I was already two weeks past my due date and went into labor. My husband, Greg Carr, called 911 and an ambulance couldn’t get there so they called the National Guard. It took them over an hour to get to where we lived,” Denise said.

“I was placed in the back of their truck in an ammunition box to be taken to the hospital,” Denise said.

The box was warmer because there was no heat in the rear of the big Guard vehicle.

“My husband could not go with me. He had to stay with our 3 year-old daughter, Holly. I called his parents to tell them we were going. They arrived at the hospital the same time we did,” said Denise.

“Tage was born within 30 minutes after I got there. We always called him our miracle baby, because the cord was wrapped around his neck and tied in a knot. But, thanks to the Lord, he was completely healthy. My husband was able to get to the hospital later in the day. I was in the hospital for a couple of days and then went home with no complications,” she added.

According to Denise, the hospital was without power or water, making it difficult there as well.

Tage graduated high school and is now engaged.

Many stories come from the memories of those who lived through the storm and the days after.

Malissa Davis, who is the wife of a Bradley County 911 dispatcher, said she knew a girl named Rebecca Storm.

Kellye Roderick said her son Austyn Roderick was born nine months after the Blizzard of ’93.

Many stories come from the memories of those who lived through the storm and the days after. The children are now grown and get to hear the stories of those few days when weather shut down normal activity here and in a great deal of the eastern third of the country.

Many stories come from the memories of those who lived through the storm and the days after.

Pamela Lawson Bramlett said her and her son Tyler went to rescue her great-nephew who was at a babysitter’s home.

“I went with him on this heart-racing adventure from Old Parksville Road to the sitter's house. We were in a small car without snow tires as I braced myself for the slippery journey. While clutching a death grip on the door and center armrest of the car, I silently prayed we would be able to return home safely. This was right before the blizzard began to thrash it's wrath of fury. After what seemed like hours, we made it as far as a gas station off of North Ocoee Street and parked there. The side road was completely impassable. Ty got out of the car, trudging through the snow down Weeks Drive, hoping to find the sitter's house. We had never been there before and with everything covered with snow, all of the houses looked the same!” exclaimed Bramlett.

The snow continued to fall. Tyler exited the car and walked into the darkness. Eventually, Tyler reappeared with the child in his arms.

Then the next challenge — to get back to safety.

“A hill seemed like a mountain,” Bramlett explained as they made their way to APD 40.

“After a few hours, a trip which should have taken 20 minutes, our exciting adventure ended with us safe at home ... only to then face the full-blown wrath of the blizzard. Our power was out for over a week,” Bramlett said.

City dwellers were a little more blessed in the aftermath.

Brenda Rayburn Wingo said her dancing daughters, Nisa Rayburn-Hooper and Tria Rayburn-Montgomery, really suffered.

“We had no cable for an hour. They thought they were really suffering,” she said.

Even those who didn’t live in Bradley County, but did have association contributed to this story.

Susan Cenkus, a former Lee student and who now resides in Clyde, Ohio, was traveling from Florida and got slowed in Atlanta as the storm struck.

“We traveled 20 miles in six hours. We never got stuck until we arrived in Cleveland … the next afternoon,” Cenkus said.

“What a storm. I tell everybody in Ohio about it!” she exclaimed.