UPDATE: Community Deals with Tornado Aftermath

By: Ryan Bloomfield, Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Ryan Bloomfield, Olivia Fecteau Email
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UPDATE 6/11/13 @ 11:35 p.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A tornado may have hit Lawrence County Sunday evening, but it's made more than a lasting impression.

Tony Blevins of Ulysses, Ky., was inside his home when strong winds blew the roof of his house completely off.

"That was a ride I never want to take again," Blevins said. "It was the longest five minutes I've ever been in in my life."

Blevins and his family hunkered down in a hallway for protection. The tornado ripped through the area, leaving downed trees, power lines and serious damage to several homes.

"I'm extremely lucky," Blevins said. "I'm just tickled to death that nobody got hurt, and all this can be replaced ... I'd just rather have my kids and my babies other than everything."

Jim Stapleton of Ulysses is Blevins' neighbor. He also experienced the tornado and experienced roof and hail damage to his home. He described Sunday's tornado like being in a movie.

"Feels like being right in the center of a movie," Stapleton said. "This is something that you see on TV. This is something that don't happen in your backyard. I mean, within a matter of seconds, it went from thunder to rain, to winds like you've never seen before. I mean, it's very scary."

Blevins and others say they have contacted disaster relief to see if there is any help they may be able to get in rebuilding.

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A tornado ripped through parts of eastern Kentucky Sunday evening, clocking in at up to 75 miles per hour. Neighbors in Ulysses, Ky. said that even though the storm left them dealing with damage, they were relieved no one was hurt.

Elaine Castle has been remodeling her living room and kitchen for the past two years. Her roof was partially torn off by Sunday’s tornado. She said this brings her family back to square one, but she’s just happy everyone is fine.

"We can replace everything else, but we can't replace my family,” Castle said. “My family's the most important thing in my life. If it took my whole house, as long as my family's alive, that's the most important thing. Because you can rebuild, but you can't take a life back."

The storm brought high winds and rain, along with hail. Churchgoers at Walnut Grove Baptist Church found themselves in the midst of it when hailstones started pelting their building. On Monday, there were holes all over the siding of the church where the hailstones hit. The church was flooded, but with the work of about 50 church members, they managed to dry out most of the carpet.

Diana Chapman was at the church when it happened. She said the only thing going through her mind was the safety of her family.

“Just grab your family, that's it,” Chapman said. “Just grab your family and hold onto them.”

Chapman said this is the worst storm she’s ever seen in her 26 years. Sabrina Wiley, 37, agreed with her.

“I never seen nothing like this in my life,” Wiley said.

Wiley’s home also was damaged, with shingles lifted from the roof. She didn’t notice it until Monday because it was dark by the time she returned to her house Sunday night.

“They’ll probably have to be fixed,” Wiley said, looking at the side of her roof. “I don’t know if I have any leaks yet or not.”

Crews from the electric company were out Monday morning fixing the power lines. Most of them said they had been working since 8 p.m. Sunday.

This tornado, rated an EF-0 by the National Weather Service, isn’t far from another tornado that hit Lawrence County, Ky., last March. That storm killed two people, with winds twice as powerful as Sunday’s storm.

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