What may have been a tornado ripped a hole in the Georgia Dome during an Alabama-Mississippi State quarterfinal basketball game, the Associated Press is reporting.
"While the weather service waffled on whether a tornado struck the 16-year-old dome, everyone sure felt that's what they had been through after a loud rumbling noise swept over the building," the AP reports. "The fabric roof rippled like waves in the ocean, while scaffolding, catwalks and a temporary video board swayed dangerously over the crowded stands.
"Metal bolts and washers fell from the roof, and two cloth panels above the upper deck tore open. Outside, large chunks of insulation and metal panels some as long as 25 feet long were blown off the building."
The startling interruption to the Southeastern Conference tournament didn't stop the game, which Mississippi won by two points.
While the region is now entering tornado season, the winter has been marked by several rounds of unusual winter tornadoes, which typically require warm masses of air to form. To date, there have been many more tornadoes this year than in any of the previous five. While no individual weather events can be attributed to larger climate trends, like global warming, scientists have predicted that the United States will experience more tornadoes as the climate warms.
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