Memories of Tornadoes: Past & Present

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Last Updated: July 28, 2016 Memories make stories that people love to share. With tornado season getting a dramatic start as storms blew through Oklahoma and Illinois, people are sharing their tornado memories from long ago and from the recent past.

Memories of Forty Years Ago and the Super Outbreak

The Palm Sunday 1965 tornadoes have been in the news, along with the April 3, 1974, storm, dubbed Super Outbreak, that spawned 148 tornadoes across 31 states in 48 hours. Those who were just teenagers when the storm blew through their areas still remember the sights and sounds of that day, along with the fear they felt.

"We were scared to death," said Jackie Litchfield Apted, who was just 16 when the tornado passed her home in Sayler Park, Ill., as the family took shelter in the basement for what "seemed like forever." The same outbreak caused havoc miles away in Xenia, Ohio, where 18-year-old Regina Boyd recorded her impressions in her journal at the time and shared her thoughts with meteorologist Rich Wirdzek of WHIO last week in the video posted below.

She recalled a plate glass door in her father's jewelry shop shattering and glass flying, as she watched a car flip over on the courthouse lawn across the street before running for cover in the back of the shop. When the storm was over, she viewed the destruction as she walked through town on her way home. Her own house was damaged but standing, and her family was safe, although her 11-year-old brother had had to take shelter in a neighbor's home as he was out delivering papers on his route.

More recent storms and the "luck" of being prepared

Gwen Graber, a Montgomery, Georgia teacher, didn't have to go that far back in time to recall a tornado that instilled fear in her heart. She remembered the day in 2005 when she had to lead her fourth graders to safety as a tornado swept through the city. The school was left intact, but her home was destroyed, and her husband injured, according to a story posted by WTWO-TV NBC 2.

Graber's takeaway from that experience? It can happen to anyone. By the same token, anyone can prepare themselves for the coming storm. Take Moore resident Melanie Ross Douvillier, for example. She has more recent memories concerning tornadoes. Her Survive-A-Storm shelter was installed in her garage on March 25, just three hours before an EF2 tornado touched down near her home. She and her two dogs rode out the storm in safety and relative comfort while trees in her neighborhood were split in half and roofs were blown off nearby buildings.

“It was ironic because I told the installers, ‘We’re supposed to get some weather tonight, so let’s hope I don’t need it,’” she said. Then added, "We laughed about it."

By the next day, Melanie's overwhelming feeling was gratitude -- that she had been "lucky" enough to have a life-saving storm shelter in place. “It was extremely scary, but I felt blessed,” Douvillier said. “I felt like an angel was watching over me. What are the chances of us having a shelter installed and within three hours I’m in it?”

Get ready now with Survive-A-Storm

At Survive-A-Storm, we know there is always a chance. That's why we build and install FEMA-compliant above-ground or below-ground shelters that will keep your family safe in a storm. Survive-A-Storm Shelters are the highest quality, most reliable residential storm shelters sold in America.

We offer near absolute protection with our full line of above and below-ground shelters. Our FEMA-compliant Survive-A-Storm Shelters have been tried and tested and are able to withstand winds and debris from any EF5 tornado. They are distributed through The Home Depot, as well as through a nationwide network of independent dealers. And with affordable pricing and the many financing options we have made available to our customers, nearly anyone can afford one. Take a look at our customer testimonials and find out how pleased you will be to have a Survive-A-Storm shelter installed for your family.

The leading manufacturer and distributor of prefabricated steel above ground and below ground tornado shelters, and community safe rooms.
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