A look back at the Atlanta tornado of 2008

Ten years ago, a twister ravaged downtown and neighborhoods to the east

A little before 10 p.m. on March 14, 2008, fans at the SEC Tournament were enjoying free basketball. Alabama’s Mykal Riley hit a clutch 3-pointer that sent the Crimson Tide into overtime against Mississippi State in their quarterfinal game.

That shot likely kept lots of folks inside the Georgia Dome and off the streets of downtown Atlanta, where an EF2 tornado was blasting its way past the CNN Center towards the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel, following a path eastward that paralleled Decatur Street. When it finished tearing up downtown, it moved on to ravage Oakland Cemetery, the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill lofts and the Cabbagetown and East Atlanta neighborhoods, among others.


Along its six-mile path, the twister left a trail of broken glass, piles of bricks wrenched from buildings, injuries and one death. 

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Then: The Cabbagetown area of Atlanta was one of the hardest hit by the tornado that tore through the city in March 2008. This house, at 252 Powell Street, was severely damaged. (Allen Sullivan /

It’s been 10 years since the Atlanta tornado hit, compelling the city to yet again tap into its history of resilience in the face of adversity, returning stronger and wiser. 

Alabama lost in overtime to Mississippi State that night. A sub-.500, sixth-seeded Georgia Bulldogs team took the SEC men’s title, its first since 1983, as Atlanta got to work on its latest rebuild.


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