Atlanta Twister Knocks GWCC Out of Action For Now

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Atlanta, GA – Managers of the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) and the Atlanta Fire Marshal spent the weekend assessing the damage to the convention center after downtown Atlanta took a direct hit from a tornado Friday night.

Interior flooding caused by a broken water pipe was widely reported by the Atlanta media, and the Spring Atlanta Home Show scheduled for March 13-16 was cancelled. “Do NOT come to the Georgia World Congress Center – you will not be allowed access to the building,” warned an advisory on the show’s Web site.

The storm also scrubbed the weekend 96th Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting at the GWCC. The show organizers said they would learn today when the building would be reopened for exhibitors to retrieve their belongings and dismantle and ship their booths.

The International Window Coverings Expo is the next major event  scheduled in the GWCC on March 27-31. The event had projected an attendance of about 8,000 delegates with an economic impact of $8.5 million.  How and if the tornado’s damage will  impact that  event is not available at this time.

The twister was confirmed by the National Weather Service, which rated it as an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It also caused damage to other buildings around GWCC, including the Georgia Dome and the Omni Hotel at CNN Center. The Omni sustained damage to more than half of its rooms and advised guests with reservations to contact the hotel for updates on their accommodations.

Reach Mark Zimmerman, general manager of the GWCC, at (404) 223-4000 or mzimmerman@gwcc.com; Michael Schoppenhorst, show director for the Spring Atlanta Home Show, at  (770) 998-9800, ext. 234, or Michael@AtlantaHomeShow.com; Stephanie Park, exhibits manager for Hinman Atlanta, at (404) 231-1663 or spark@hinman.org

Trade Show Executive will provide updates throughout the day