Remembering the ‘Bizzard’
Published 12:09 pm Friday, March 17, 2023
Thank you for remembering the major weather event of 1993, when a winter cyclone took down a few thousand pine trees in Tryon. A friend hiking down Carolina Drive at the height of the storm looked back and saw the road where he had moments before been walking now littered with downed pines, realized the danger and high-tailed it for shelter. The National Guard had to bring in water buffalos to keep us hydrated when the water plant shut down, and we heated our frozen houses with wood fires. It stayed below 10 degrees for about a week.
Of course, the Tryon Daily Bulletin was out of commission for a few days, but we quickly realized there were a lot of stories going around. One of our reporters had been in her living room on Pine Crest Lane when the phone rang. A moment or two after she arose to answer it, a tree crashed through the roof and landed on the chair where she had been sitting. We knew there were hundreds more stories like that, so as soon as the lights came back on, we published a few editions covering the main stories we could gather from public sources, but we also advertised for everyone in the community to share with us their individual stories.
We got probably fifty or 60 responses, and Reen Smith, Claire Wharton and I started keying them in to produce a special edition of storm stories about a week later. I remember one in particular about an elderly woman rescued by neighbors who hauled her through the woods on a sled to warmth and safety.
The stories we received were stunning in their diversity and really told the tale of how we had all coped and survived.
The staff at that time worked probably a couple of 12-hour days getting the extra work done before we had it all pasted up and ready to go to press. We were exhausted. Then, at the last minute, we realized we needed a special edition headline, so one of us set the type, missing just one slender character. We pasted that headline above the masthead and sent it all back to the pressroom before heading home for some rest.
The next day, we saw that we had published a special report entitled, “The Bizzard of ’93!” Your accomplishments are all forgotten, but your mistakes live on forever. To this day, my friends laughingly recall the ‘Bizzard.’
I wish we had thought of that, but either way, it works!
Happy 30th anniversary.