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Tornado Survivor Stories

This page offers stories submitted by tornado survivors. These accounts have not been verified. If you survived a tornado or know someone who did, share your story and help save lives. Please Contact Us. PLEASE note that we have permission to print your story online and let us know the town and state and the month and year of the event.

Tatiana, Utah, 2016

This event was in 2016. I live in Utah and I was in the kitchen where we had a glass door to go to the backyard. I was looking outside through the closed door because I saw leaves that were in my backyard and my neighbors backyard and I was like "Whoa, the leaves are floating! It's like there's aliens are getting the leaves!" Then my mom said to move from the window and to grab my little sister, who was 2 years old and so I moved her. I asked my mom "why?" And she said "because it's a tornado." I was scared, our power went off, we couldn't find our candles but then we found it so I was happy. I was so happy and grateful that I was still alive and safe. Some of my friends almost died because large trees fell. It was an unforgettable event.

Shan, McAllen, TX, 2010

We were out of town when a hailstorm hit McAllen, Texas, in 2010 or 2011. The storm ripped through north McAllen and windows on the north sides of homes were shattered. Some think it might have been a small tornado. The flooding part though was caused by the buildup of hailstones over the street drains—blocking the escape of water from heavy rains.  Water rose, and homes that you never would have expected to flood did.  Ever since then we have carried flood insurance.

Amanda, Omaha, NE, May 2008,

When you live in Tornado alley it is drilled into your head what to look, feel, hear, and even smell for regarding a tornado. It was May 2008, around 1 or 2 am. I was living in a mobile home park in Omaha right up the street from Zorinsky Lake ( always had a killer view!). My friends and I were sitting on her porch talking and having a wonderful time. I kept looking toward Zorinsky Lake. I knew there was a storm coming; you could just feel it and smell the rain. It had been so humid that day and as the storm grew closer it had dropped temperature fast. I look out and all I see is lightening. I didn’t hear thunder at all. I say to my friends, “I see lightning, but there is no thunder, no rain, no nothing… usually you hear thunder”. Next thing I knew the breeze suddenly stopped and there was the silence. No crickets, no frogs, no locusts calling out for mates. Nothing. I call to my friends and we get inside the trailer. As soon as we shut the door, we hear what sounded like a freight train. The entire home shook and we ducked and huddled together. The door flew open and I look outside while we are interlocking arms to make sure we try to stay together. All I see is rain and what appeared to be smoke swirling around. My friend’s dad ran out from the bedroom, and slammed the door and asked if we were alright. There were no sirens, no warnings, nothing. The mobile home stopped shaking… It was still so calm and then the sirens started to go off. It was so faint to the point I thought I had lost my hearing. We turn on the TV to Channel 7 and we see Bill Randby, Chief Meteorologist, who said that there was a confirmed tornado within city limits. It had touched down in Omaha, but the sirens were late and that it has moved out of the park. We go outside and looked on our little community. There were no deaths, few were injured, but for being mobile homes, they were still holding up strong. Turned out the tornado did not touch down fully in the park, but still threw a carport into a neighboring car and tipped a tree to the point you couldn’t go up the road in any type of vehicle. I remember taking in a deep breath and hugging my friend and running over to my mom’s house and making sure she was alright. Till this day, I still remember that day and it still plays in my head. I now have two little girls to whom I am passing all the “farmer tricks” to and teaching them to keep an eye in the sky and a foot in the tornado shelter in spring.

Susan, Red Springs, NC, 1984

The day had been beautiful, we were going to my husband's mother's house for a cookout. We had the boys (aged 11 and 7 at the time) headed to the truck. My husband called for our dog a husky/chow mix to get on the back of the truck, but he wouldn’t come out of the house. My husband started to fuss with him, but you could tell Hobo was upset. The dog just would not leave the house. I told my husband something was wrong and all of a sudden you could feel the air change. I called for the boys to get back in the house. We got in the center part of the house when all the doors blew open. It was probably the only thing besides the dog that saved us. The tornado cut a path through the woods directed behind the house, maybe 10 feet, and continued until the whole town seemed to have been torn down. In less than 45 minutes, the National Guard was there and had declared martial law. The state patrol came to get my husband to help clear some of the roads. With just me and the children and Hobo, I spent the longest night of my life. You could tell from the sirens and helicopters that it was really bad! I remember looking out after it got dark and the pine trees glowed from the sap where the tops had been torn out. It was a devastatingly unforgettable event!

William, Smithville, MS, 2011

On April 27 2011, a tornado outbreak struck Smithville, Mississippi. After hearing the alert, I had walked outside. It was partly cloudy and warm but it turned cool so quickly that I thought it was over and I walked back inside my house. I lived in a apartment in a house with a double wall, a sound proof wall that separated my apartment from my neighbors. I was watching the news. WTVA Chief Meteorologist Matt Laubhan said the storm was coming to Smithville and I just stood there watching, waiting, looking at the TV and thinking this isn't gonna happen. About 30 seconds later, the power went out and the entire house shook for a minute and then stopped and I thought it was over so I was about to get up from my floor when the shaking began again and wouldn't stop this time. I felt the pressure drop and as the shaking got louder, I got worried. Then it felt like the house exploded. I woke up one hour and a half later in a field a 1/4 mile away from the house with cuts to my body and a deep cut to my head and covered in blood dirt and grass. I was taken to Tupelo, Mississippi, where I spent 2 weeks in recovery.