They were standing outside while sirens were going off looking at the green skies when things got unusually calm and quiet. My father looked up and saw a "hole" in the sky and shouted "RUN!!!! The friends split up. My father went under a large wooden rack where tons of lumber was stored. His friend hung onto an oak tree and didn't let go. Debris flew all around them severing my fathers ear in half. When that happened, he looked over and saw the shelf was going to collapse on top of my father. He shouted for him to get out from under the lumber and run to the tree but unfortunately the sound of the roaring tornado was too loud for my father to hear hi sfriend.
The shelf collapsed with my father under it and the F1 lifted up and was over. After my father got pulled out with the help of everyone that was around, someone performed CPR but there was no saving his life. He had no broken bones and his body was still intact. The medical examiner ruled it cardiac dysrhythmia.
My father's friend made it out with cuts and bruises. For 3 days before the tornado, it was incredibly windy but sunny out. My dog would just stand in the yard and howl for hours those entire 3 days as well as acting off in other ways. As a side note I had never seen her act like that before or after that time period.
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On the evening of that third day, we were eating supper and starting cleanup when the tornado sirens went off. We all were surprised considering it was still sunny out.
Mom turned on the radio and sure enough a tornado was on the ground headed our way. Now in Oklahoma when I was a kid, if the sirens went off you went outside first to try and get a look before taking shelter. So we all went out front and encountered multiple neighbors and their children doing the same. It was almost like a block party with all the excitement. Suddenly my friend's dad turned with a look of absolute terror and started screaming "get inside, good God get inside now! I will never forget the look on his face and the fear in his voice.
I was 7 and knew it must be serious.
Allow me to tackle everything terrifying about this story to a child.
We didn't have a basement so we all got in the interior hallway with blankets and pillows on top of me mostly and waited. I thought it was over but then my dad said, "Here it comes get ready. It sounded more like a jet engine sound than a train approaching. I've never felt a house shake and shudder like that and the sound of dirt, debris, whatever else raking the house was unearthly almost.
To this day I tear up realizing they thought we might not make it that day. Finally it was over and we stepped outside to survey the scene. Our street was littered with paper, siding, tree limbs, etc. Two streets down though people were not so lucky. In the frenzy of taking cover, we forgot about my dog in the backyard. I flipped when she wasn't out there after the storm.
She had burrowed under that concrete slab to take cover. She went on to live a good dog life and died of old age. I was living in Lancing TN on a farm in a mobile home.
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The weather channel was calling for some rough weather so my mum, dad, brother and I went to my aunt and uncle's house not far from us because they had a basement and phoned us asking us to come over just in case. I remember being in the living room with several family members, aunts and cousins. My cousin said her friend's house was just hit.. I remember it getting very dark really quickly. My nana, who unfortunately would be in another massive tornado in Mossy Grove, TN, several years later, was terrified of storms.
My dad and my uncles yelled from the front porch to get into the basement because the tornado was "coming over the mountain. I remember my adrenaline even as a child being just through the roof. We started the journey to the basement and upon getting down the stairs, saw the basement was completely flooded except for one small spot in the far corner that was on a hill.
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We had to basically swim to safety. Except I couldn't swim so my mum lifted me up and carried me.
We were all piled into this corner of the basement just freaking out while my Nana was praying in a language I didn't understand. There was one small dusty window right across from us ground level and I saw the tornado almost as if it were framed like a picture coming towards us. You could see the roof of the lady down the street just spinning in the tornado and I really thought we would all die.
My dad and uncles were still on the front porch watching it like the cowboys they were, which I would never advise.
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This was the 90s before camera phones were a thing. The tornado tracked closer and the praying got louder. I expected to hear a train like sound but it sounded more like a fighter jet that was very angry.
Somehow, some way it "jumped" our house and continued on for a short time behind us. We thought we were in the clear but the night had just begun. I think it was pure fear that caused my uncle to have a heart attack on the porch that day. We took off to the hospital while warnings were still being handed out like parking tickets.
That was the scariest drive ever. I remember looking out the window expecting to see another tornado any minute. Thankfully we made it safely and spent part of the night at the hospital. My uncle was there for days but he was released and is still going strong today. The skies were so blue all day but I had a pit in my stomach when I seen the black clouds off in the distance. Poor Nana was at church that night along with a bunch of other family and my cousin Linda got up with her newborn to get a drink from the water fountain near the entrance.
She looked up and saw the huge tornado coming across the parking lot. She ran and dove into the pews while the tornado moved and twisted the church off its foundation. Most of the congregation dove to the corner. That corner of the church was still there after it was over. We lost lives that night and in such a small county we felt every single loss, especially the small baby who didn't even get to start her life.
Her papa was trying to rush her to safety from the mobile home they were in. Ironically, their mobile home wasn't touched but their truck was and both of them perished together. That town still bares the scars and the fear. All of us do really.