It’s not often you hear about the most terrifying tornado to hit the US in a decade, but that’s exactly what happened on Monday morning in Oklahoma.
The EF-5 tornado ripped through the area around Lakeland High School, killing 12 people, injuring hundreds and damaging thousands of homes.
The tornado tore through the town of Hoover, leaving behind a trail of destruction, with some houses literally flattened.
Many of those homes have since been rebuilt, and some are even up for sale, according to local media.
“I was just trying to get my car back home,” said Lakeland resident Amanda Smith.
“I had to drive down and get it.”
Smith and her husband were both at work when the tornado struck.
She said she was sitting in her car and saw a flash and felt a “wave of wind”.
“It was very loud and really fast,” she told ABC News.
“It was a shock to my body, to my skin, to our skin, everything was going through my skin and it felt like I was being thrown into a lake.”
It looked like a big white monster was just coming at us.
“But Smith said it didn’t look like a tornado at all, just an enormous wave of wind.”
The first thing I thought was that I could feel it and that it was just going to go on and on,” she said.”
Then I saw the other cars were going to be destroyed.
“Smith, who lives in a trailer home with her two children, had just left her job at a hardware store when the storm hit.”
The first thing we thought was ‘we’re going to die’.””
We went outside and we just started banging on doors and stuff.
The first thing we thought was ‘we’re going to die’.”
Then it started to go crazy, it started blowing through the house and we heard the car’s horn.
“Smith said she then ran back into her house to see if her two-year-old daughter was alright, but couldn’t find her.”
She was screaming ‘Mommy, mommy I’m safe, I’m OK, Mommy, Momma’.
“After the tornado, Smith said she got back to her car, took the children to the nearby hospital and waited for help.”
There were some people who were coming up and telling us that they had lost their homes and cars, and that we should get out and try to help,” she recalled.”
That was just the best thing that ever happened to me.
“Smith was able to get her car back in the truck and drove her two daughters to school, but the damage had been done.”
Smith told ABC local that the worst part of the storm was the fact that no one came to help.”
There were a lot more people in the hospital that day.”
Smith told ABC local that the worst part of the storm was the fact that no one came to help.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a tornado warning for the entire county, warning of up to five inches of rain and winds of up at up to 125mph.
The NWS said the winds would reach 90km/h (50mph) within the next 30 minutes.
“This is a very, very dangerous storm,” said NWS Meteorologist Kevin Mankins.
“This tornado has the potential to cause severe damage to our communities and property.”