Taking Cover from the Tornado

By Jason Dennis - bio | e-mail

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - People are still talking about what they were doing Sunday night when the tornado hit the Chattahoochee Valley.

"Taking cover" and finsing your "safe place" meant something different for a lot of folks.

Sharlene York showed us how she ran from her bed into the hallway, yelling "Mitchell get in the hall now!!"  Her son also came into the hall.  They slammed the doors and the lights immediately went out, as the tornado struck their neighborhood in South Columbus.

"I heard the noise from the storm and I jumped up, I was hollering, Mitchell Mitchell," York said, as she reenacted it for us at her house, near Lakebottom Park.  "I was standing here in the hall, he (my son) came flying in, grabbed my hand, and the lights went out."

There were some scary moments for the mom and son who rent out the bottom floor of a house.

Muscogee County's emergency management director advises getting to the lowest place where you live. Your safe place could be a basement, closet or bathroom near the center of your home.

Priscilla Koller was watching WTVM when the storm was coming.

"I heard a loud sound, I thought the whole place was going to tear apart," Koller said, showing us how she took cover in a closet.

Another popular place to take cover is the bathroom, some people climbing with their families into bathtubs, some covering up with blankets or towels.

"We slept all through it and my mom carried us to the safest place, and it was the hall," 4-year-old tornado survivor Steven Slater said.

He and his twin brother knew it was important to steer clear of windows, while Marjorie Hardin and her grandchildren took cover in a different spot.

"I woke the kids up and my daughter and we went to the closet and took cover," Hardin told us.

Columbus Mother Mallory Addison talked about taking her son to a safe place: "Luke and me and the dog and my husband all stayed in the closet for about 10-15 minutes."

Columbus EMA director Riley Land tells us, do not take cover from a storm under a high ceiling. He also says its critical to get a warning before the tornado, so along with outdoor sirens, get a NOAA weather radio.