ATLANTA — The Portland Trail Blazers got a bit of a scare before their game against the Atlanta Hawks when a tornado warning forced them to evacuate their hotel rooms.
The warning was issued Monday morning, about seven hours after the Trail Blazers arrived at their hotel a couple of miles north of State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta. The team had traveled in the early morning hours after a victory Sunday night at Boston.
Coach Terry Stotts said his players and staff were told to go to a lower-level parking garage, where they remained for about 30 minutes.
“I know tornadoes can do anything,” Stotts said. “You have to take the right precautions. The hotel staff was very organized and got everyone down there. We hung out there for about a half-hour, then we went back to our rooms.”
Severe storms moved across the South, spawning multiple tornadoes, damaging homes and uprooting trees from Mississippi to Kentucky. A tornado spotted in Atlanta forced thousands to seek shelter, and one man was killed west of the city when a falling tree brought down power lines onto his vehicle.
Asked if the severe weather disrupted any preparations for his team, Stotts said, “We didn’t get into our rooms until 3:30 in the morning. I’m sure there were some people sleeping and it disrupted their sleep. Hopefully they were able to make it up in the afternoon.”
The Trail Blazers fell to the Hawks, 123-114.