How the Superstorm of 1993 continues to impact Dalton's carpet industry
The 'Storm of the Century' dumped feet of snow across our area 25 years ago, 30-36 inches in North Georgia alone. The storm changed Dalton's carpet industry forever.
Soft, silky berber is the heartbeat of Dalton, Georgia.
Joe Yarbrough says it has been for many decades, because the carpet industry is resilient.
"Some of the best years of the industry's history occurred after the Blizzard of '93," he said.
After the storm, he says the economy improved and the demand for carpet products went up.
But before factories could deliver, Newschannel 9 got aerial video of carpet companies' collapsed roofs. In it, you can see Carpets of Dalton caved in and on fire.
"It just couldn't accommodate the snow load," Yarbrough said.
Reg Burnett worked in the industry 25 years ago, too. He told us in an interview back then what led to the destruction.
He said, "We're obviously in an area where the buildings were not put together to withstand the load that we've had of the local storm."
Yarbrough says that's what's different about the buildings that were reconstructed.
"The engineering requirements for snow loads in our area were changed and have been upgraded to accommodate the snowstorm of the century," he said.
Yarbrough says the many companies rebuilt not only to those new standards, but also put in new equipment that reduced production costs.
Burnett says companies were exporting around $6.5 billion of carpet in 1993.
In the 25 years after the superstorm, Yarbrough says it's grown to $8 billion.
"In some regards it was a blessing in disguise," Yarbrough said.