Steve Smith of the Altheimer said he was "glad to be alive" after Sunday's severe storms, which weather officials are investigating as a possible tornado.
Steve Smith of the Altheimer said he was “glad to be alive” after Sunday’s severe storms, which weather officials are investigating as a possible tornado.
Smith said there were four adults and four kids at a farm house belonging to Willie Lee Terry on Cornerstone Road in Altheimer when at about 8:15 p.m. he saw the cone of a tornado illuminated by the frequent lightning. He said each adult grabbed a kid and went to a safe place. Everyone made it inside the safe place except Smith and a the 5-year-old girl he was holding. That’s when the tornado hit, he said.
Smith said he told the girl, “do not let go,” as the whole building started to shake.
“It sounded like a freight train — times 10,” Smith said, adding that parts of the nearby grain silos began slamming into the building where they had sought shelter.
Smith said that from the time he saw the tornado until it was all over with was only about 30 seconds. In that time, the tornado destroyed four grain silos, two buildings and one Yukon sport-utility vehicle; busted the glass out of several pieces of farm equipment; and left a 2-mile debris trail of items from the farm.
Smith said they were still looking for an overhead door to one of the storage buildings.
“It took all summer to build them and 30 seconds to destroy them,” Smith said, looking toward the grain silos, “but that’s all materialistic. We can rebuild. I’m glad everybody’s alive.”
Smith said the only injury was some scratches he received from the girl he was holding during the tornado. He said the amazing thing was that they never lost electricity during the incident. Electrical crews from Dallas were already on hand Monday to restore power to other areas.
Officials with the National Weather Service will have to investigate the damage in the area before making a final determination as to whether the storm was a tornado.