Chris Clark, Ron Howes Remember, Discuss 1998 Tornadoes

Posted at 12:38 PM, Apr 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-16 13:38:02-04

"It never dawned on me that it would hit the station."

For newsroom veterans Chris Clark and Ron Howes, it was supposed to be just another day at work. A little stormy maybe, but nothing either man hadn't seen hundreds of times before.  But April 16, 1998 would be very different.

"That was the moment we realized we were going to be part of the story."

The downtown tornado took NewsChannel 5 off the air and left the building with no power and no phones, knowing that the community would depend on their broadcasts to stay safe. With no other options, they headed to our transmitter tower to set up a temporary "studio" and beam that information directly in to people. For some time, the broadcast had no audio, so Chris Clark used a yellow legal pad to relay information to the screens of shaken families.

As one viewer would later tell Chris Clark, "I liked your coverage best because it looked like a real disaster."

Hear Local TV legends Chris Clark and Ron Howes reminisce about the day the Trail of Tornadoes hit downtown Nashville.