Dave Brown remembers February 5, 2008 tornadoes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Dave Brown remembers February 5, 2008 tornadoes

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - One year ago Thursday night, the Mid-South was in the middle of an unprecedented weather event.

A series of deadly tornadoes ripped through our area killing dozens of people across the southeast including four right here in West Tennessee.

On February 4th, Dave Brown was worried.

Brown said, "I'm not one to overstate the chance for severe weather."

Brown said, "I said at some point on Action News Five, I'm very worried about tomorrow."

In fact, Dave had been worrying for days.

"We knew two or three days ahead of time that it had the potential to be a bad day," said Brown.

The loss of the life and the incredible property damage in Southaven, South East Memphis, and Jackson's Union University still puts Dave in awe.

Brown said, "There are times when I've been to a place where tornadoes have damaged things and it's like, this is incredible.  Union University is one of those places."

"I think there was something like a thousand cars damaged on campus that night, and yet there was not one fatality.  We had injuries, but not one single fatality.  That was incredible," said Brown.

During the outbreak, the National Weather Service issued its first ever tornado emergency.

Dave stayed focused on giving Mid-South viewers the most accurate information using the newly installed Vipir Tornado Index.

The scale goes from 0-to10, the higher the number, the greater the chance there's a tornado on the ground.

That night, the VTI hit 9.

Brown said, "It's not just something we can brag about.  It's a tool that is absolutely useful, very much so, for us to warn people ahead of time and tell them you're in harms way you're in dangers path, and we could do that on February 5th."

Keeping people safe that night was not only a professional mission for Dave, it was a personal mission.

"Apparently we had a tornado on the ground that was within a couple of blocks of where one of my daughters worked.  It was Super Tuesday, the primaries were going on.  We had one that was a few miles from where my wife was running a precinct.  And at the same time there was indication a light indication that there was another one developing right over my daughter's house," said Brown.

One of his daughters checked in with a text message to let him know the family was alright.

But the Mid-South was still in danger and Dave Brown and his weather team stayed on the air just past midnight.

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