Storm rips panels from Georgia Dome; one SEC game postponed
ATLANTA — A severe storm ripped into the Georgia Dome during the Southeastern Conference tournament, sending debris tumbling from the ceiling, prompting fans to flee for the exits and postponing the final game Friday night.
The storm caused damage to this section of the Georgia Dome. (AP)
The storm struck while Alabama and Mississippi State were in overtime in their quarterfinal matchup. They were able to finish after a delay of more than an hour — Mississippi State won 69-67 — but the last game between Georgia and Kentucky was called off because of concerns that more strong storm cells were closing in on downtown.
“I thought it was a tornado or a terrorist attack,” said Mississippi State guard Ben Hansbrough, who was guarding Alabama’s Mykal Riley when rumbling began above their heads.
Added one of Hansbrough’s teammates, Charles Rhodes, “This has got to be one of the worst environments I’ve ever been in as a player. To see stuff falling from the roof, it really scared me. I really didn’t know what to do.”
The SEC was considering the unprecedented scenario of playing three games on Saturday, with the Georgia-Kentucky winner having to return later in the day for a semifinal game against Mississippi State.
The National Weather Service wasn’t sure if a tornado struck the 16-year-old dome, but everyone sure felt that way after a loud rumbling noise swept over the building. The fabric roof rippled like waves in the ocean, while scaffolding, catwalks and a temporary video board swayed dangerously over the crowded stands.
Yikes! Its that time of year-springtime thunderstorms…