Residents received warnings from the National Weather Service eight minutes before the tornado hit. Their quick response to warnings prevented more serious injuries and deaths, said Chance Hayes, a meteorologist with the service. “They sheltered in houses, they sheltered in businesses, they sought refuge wherever they could for safety,” he said.
After Ms Triplett and her husband received the warning on their phones, she and her husband opened the front door to check the sky and saw the funnel cloud approaching.
“I thought we had a little more time,” Ms. Triplett said. “But we didn’t. »
Once in the basement, they could hear the impact of the tornado above them. Ms Triplett said it was “like a plane taking off”. The pressure in their ears was strong. “And you could feel and hear a sound like a roaring wave. I think it was the roof that was tilting.
Her daughters screamed as the tornado roared over them, she said. When the calm subsided, the family came out to find that most of their roof was missing and two walls were collapsing over the dining room and living room. The garage had collapsed on the station wagons.
They spent the night at Mrs. Triplett’s mother’s house, a mile away. Early on Saturday, Ms Triplett and her husband returned to the house, where they have lived since 2006, to try and salvage what they could. The rains that accompanied the tornado added to the casualties, soaking the family’s belongings after the roof gave way.
Ann and David Taylor were having dinner at home with their children when they received the tornado warnings on their phones.
“As soon as I got the text, it didn’t take five minutes before it hit,” Ms Taylor said. “We got to our basement and went to the laundry room. I was talking about whether we should get a mattress to cover our heads, but then I heard it – it sounded like a train.