Tornado shelter saves lives in White County

Tornado shelter saves lives in White County

Strong winds are to blame for heavy damage to a home in rural White County. The homeowner says his recently installed storm shelter saved his life.
Strong winds are to blame for heavy damage to a home in rural White County.  The homeowner says his recently installed storm shelter saved his life.

Clean up is underway in White County, west of McRae.  Two homes sustained damage on property off Crisco Road.  Kenneth Strayhorn, the former of mayor of the McRae, was home when storms picked up at 10:30pm Thursday night.

"They had been predicted we were going to have some weather,” Strayhorn says.  “In fact, I'd had gone to bed. My wife was awake watching TV.  It just kept getting a little worse and a little worse."

Right about that time Strayhorn, his wife and brother made the move.

"We didn't have a whole lot of time to spare, it hit right after we got in the storm shelter," Strayhorn says.

What they couldn't see outside were the walls of their barn picked up, thrown in the air and thrown back down on top of their brother's home.  It flew right over Strayhorn’s mobile home.

"It took me a few minutes to figure out it was the barn. I thought the house was destroyed," Strayhorn says.

It wasn't, but windows are broken and there are 2x4's sticking out of the side.  Strayhorn missed all of it.

"We just put it in after we moved out here a little more than a year ago and last night was the first night its thundered good since we had it in," Strayhorn says.

"So what tipped Strayhorn to take shelter in the first place?  There were no tornado warnings in White County.  Even if there had been he lives so far out, he wouldn't have been able to hear them.  He was watching TV when his picture went out.  The pole his satellite dish was mounted to was lying in his backyard Friday afternoon.

“[If it] hadn't been for that storm shelter it might've gotten real scary," Strayhorn says. "I’d highly recommend them to anybody".

Strayhorn says he can rebuild his barn.  Help already arrived to clean-up.  After a tragic night of storms, he's thankful everyone here is alright.

The National Weather Service has not determined what caused the damage in parts of White County.
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