I tried doing this on casual IAMA but the post got filtered out and i didn't receive any questions until a couple days later, so i just wanted to copy and paste it here to a bigger audience so i can finally answer some questions.

So i live in Beavercreek Ohio, and if you have been watching the news I'm sure you know that an extremely powerful tornado touched down right in my town the night of memorial day and it completely devastated my townhome complex. Below is a recounting of my experience that night, i just have had the overwhelming urge to share my story and get it online because it's one of the scariest yet most unique experiences i feel like a person could possibly go through.

11PM

I'm upstairs in my townhome, sipping on a delicious beer (Figleaf Brewery Ponderous Porter for the beer people who wanna know) and i am playing a game on my computer and chatting with friends on discord. We are having a good time, and my plan was to have maybe 1 or 2 beers and get to bed by 1am so i could wake up for work the next morning. It was windy and rainy, but at this point i had literally no reason to believe i was in any danger, it seemed like a pretty run of the mill stormy night.

12AM

I get the first of the tornado warnings on my phone. It beeps like crazy and tells me "possible tornado touching down in your area, get to shelter!" I pretty much ignore this at first, and continue gaming with my friends whilst making jokes with them. "Lol, yeah guys i may need to sign off because i might get sucked away in a tornado apparently." We all laugh and joke and continue gaming as there are still no signs that a tornado is actually near me specifically.

12:30AM

I get a second warning on my phone. The lights are flickering at this point and i can hear the wind picking up like crazy outside, so this time i take the warning seriously and decided to get off of my computer with my friends and go downstairs since i figured i may be losing power soon. I bring our two dogs down into the living room, and im pacing nervously between the back sliding door and the front door, looking outside to see if i can notice any signs of a tornado (not that i really knew what i was looking for).

12:40AM

And so begins my nightmare. The lights go off, i can feel the entire townhome shaking and the sound of the wind outside was indescribable, but if i had to describe it, the best thing i could say is that it sounded violent and evil. It didn't sound like normal wind. At this point i brought the dogs into our kitchen away from the sliding glass door. Just in the knick of time too, because the door busted open immediately adter and debris started flying into my living room. I also heard my windows upstairs explode but i was too afraid to go back up to see. I start screaming at the top of my lungs for my roommates to GET DOWNSTAIRS NOW as one of them was trying to sleep and the other was in the bathroom. They run downstairs freaked out and this is when the full force of the tornado is right on top of our building. The force that we felt was unreal, we were completely at the mercy of mother nature and whatever was going to happen. We had no basement, we had no other safe place to be, whatever happened to that kitchen was our fate. It felt like an eternity as we held on to the dogs and just hoped, although it was probably only a few minutes in actuality.

1AM

The tornado was gone, we finally felt like it was safe to open the front door. What we saw when we did open the door was absolutely insane. Here are some pictures.

https://imgur.com/a/CNDB7ts

When we went outside, people were screaming for help. My car was destroyed as were two of my roommates cars, debris was literally everywhere. Im also of the belief that if we lived next door, we'd be dead. The entire side of the building ripped off and all the rooms were exposed. Luckily, our neighbors that used to live there moved out and that unit was vacant. My roommate and i ran around trying to help anyone we could. We had to kick a ladies door in as she was screaming for help, wood had fallen on her and both of her legs were broken, there was also a giant leak pouring water into her living room at a rapid pace. We were able to carry her out on a blanket with the help of others and get her out to the street for an ambulance to access her. I looked around and noticed a man standing on the curb with his two young children and his golden retriever and i offered for them to come inside our unit as they had lost everything and their unit was completely obliterated and at least we still had a roof on ours. We were able to secure a pet friendly hotel room that night with help from my roommates mother and we were able to stay a few nights and now are staying with my roommates grandmother.

Some pictures in the daylight and a video i took

http://imgur.com/a/BHrhtXP

http://imgur.com/a/nZtnXxi

http://imgur.com/a/f9fRgMk

People of reddit; if you get a tornado warning, take it seriously!!! Mother nature is a bitch. We took all the belongings we didnt want to leave behind into storage and are currently taking it day by day trying to get back to normal. Just wanted to share my story.

Comments: 54 • Responses: 16  • Date: 

closedsidewalk24 karma

Oh man that is terrifying. I'm glad you're okay. Lots of questions but I'll narrow it to two. What is your priority right now--that is, what are you just doing day to day to move forward? And how do you think this will affect you long-term? Again, glad you're safe, and it was awesome of you guys to help out so many people.

Tornadothrowacc0177622 karma

Thank you, we got lucky in that regard.

To answer your questions, right now we are staying at our roommates grandmothers place she wanted to help us and now we don't need to keep footing a hotel bill that was getting gigantic. Our priority has been to look for a new place to rent, something within our budget that allows our pets and has enough room for us. We've looked at a ton of places but it's been pretty difficult to find something that doesn't have some sort of catch (no dogs, someone else already applied and is renting it etc.) It's been frustrating but that's our priority. As far as how it's going to affect me long term, well that will depend. I'm really hoping Trump signs off on giving Ohio FEMA grant money so that i can get some individual assistance because i will be upside down on my totaled car and i don't have a reliable vehicle anymore i have been using a rental and we are very short on cash. Again though, the fact that we are all alive and well and our two dogs are safe and healthy is a blessing even though this has been so stressful.

SeaOfDoors9 karma

Specifically how were your dogs reacting when the tornado hit? Did they seem to sense that something serious was happening and were they being quiet or did they bark and act anxious? How are they handling the current living situation?

I'm glad you all are ok!

Tornadothrowacc0177615 karma

I grabbed my Corgi and ran downstairs into the kitchen, our pitbull was already downstairs and she got really freaked out and i thought for a second she ran out the back door and i got really scared that she did but she didn't, i got them both into our little bathroom downstairs and they didn't enjoy being in there, they were very anxious and barking the whole time. They were both so well behaved at the hotel and they are well behaved where we are now also, in fact i think they are loving where we are because there's a gigantic field that we have been letting them run around in and tire themselves out. My corgi has been sooooo affectionate, sleeping practically on my face every night lol. I think he's stressed out a bit still or he can sense that i am stressed.

MissMaryporter7 karma

Will you take the weather alerts on your phone, tv, etc, more serious after this happened? Asking because I live in a state that gets lots of hurricanes, not many tornados (we have a bit more notice of the approaching storm), but I tend to disregard weather alerts on my phone

Tornadothrowacc0177613 karma

Yes, absolutely. It'd be impossible for me not to take them seriously now after that experience. I totally get it, i was exactly like you i got the alarms and was more annoyed by them than anything else. But now i understand why they exist and they absolutely can save lives.

aiu_killer_tofu9 karma

My GF has a family member who lives in Beavercreek as well and we had a similar conversation with her the night the tornados hit. She was complaining they superceded The Bachelorette to bring on the news while we (in NY) were asking if she had a safe place to go. Their building didn't have any significant damage, but it was a very narrow miss. A slightly different track and failure to heed the warnings could have turned out much differently.

Glad y'all are safe, even if it's a long road to a full recovery.

Tornadothrowacc017764 karma

Wow well I'm glad your girlfriends family member is okay!!

That's the crazy thing about how the damage fell around Beavercreek, you could drive down a road and see untouched perfect houses and no damage and then you turn on to the next street only a few hundred feet away and it's complete obliteration. It is jaw dropping. Similar to our cars at our townhome complex, some cars had a few minor scratches while other cars were practically cut in half or flattened. It's all completely random chance at what debris is going to hit what and where the vortex decides to go. Again, glad your girlfriends family member came out of that night okay, it was an insane night.

stevenpfrench3 karma

I assume most people are aware, but if the alert is a watch it’s pretty meh. Go about whatever you were doing and just be aware the situation could potentially escalate. If it’s a warning it means shit is currently going down get to safety immediately. That being said the joke about midwesterners standing outside watching ridiculous storms is 100% true. When I was growing up it seemed like we had multiple severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings a week and it kind of desensitizes you. Thunderstorm warnings we would watch outside, but tornado warnings we were instantly in the basement. Probably helps that my parents lived through what is believed to be an EF5 that leveled the town they were living in before I was born.

Tornadothrowacc017761 karma

Yeah exactly, the warnings are when it gets real, the "watches" are nothing.

gocubsgo10106 karma

I'm so sorry to hear this. What were your first instincts as to what to do when the tornado came to a close? Were you scared to look up and see the damage? Or did you immediately jump up and start looking for people to help?

Tornadothrowacc017766 karma

Well i knew the general rules, get as low as you can and stay away from windows. Honestly my love for my dog is so much more than any of my other belongings or anything so i wanted to make sure the dogs were safe, we didn't have a basement so the downstairs kitchen and bathroom were the safest places to be so after that we were completely at the mercy of whatever happened to that kitchen. You really feel powerless.

gocubsgo10101 karma

Yeah I can imagine. Thanks for answering. Best wishes to you all in the future... Hopefully everything will return to normal soon

Tornadothrowacc017762 karma

Thank you very much!!

blownawayaway5 karma

Does insurance cover the damage?

Tornadothrowacc017768 karma

So our rental insurance was apparently only liability for the building, we got extremely lucky and didn't lose any real expensive property like our computers and tvs etc. we left furniture but thats mostly due to not being able to fit it all in storage. As far as my car goes, they totaled it. I owe close to $17k on it still, and the fair market value for my car seems to be around $15k which means I'll still owe $2k because i didn't get gap insurance sadly.. 2 of my roommates vehicles got damaged as well, luckily our 3rd roommate was at work so he didn't sustain damage on his car. Our friends and family contributed money to our Facebook GoFundMe page and that helped much with the hotel bill and our insurance deductibles and what not, i don't even want to think about where I'd be if we didn't get that bit of help.

BananaBoatBooty3 karma

I live in NE ohio and was up late watching the radars as all the destruction happened. They have been frequent and bad so far this year so always keep an eye out. How destroyed was your rental?

Tornadothrowacc017763 karma

Yeah and I'm afraid it may just continue getting worse. My townhome is condemned, it was significantly damaged and isnt safe to live in, they are demolishing most of the complex and basically starting over.

itriedbutitdidntwork2 karma

yes, that is terrifying. was there any casualties? i really hope not even though i believe there may have been. good job for helping the dogs!

Tornadothrowacc017762 karma

2 confirmed deaths both elderly and most likely were asleep or unable to move quickly enough :(

MudAlfons2 karma

First of all, good to hear that you got through that somehow! Hope you can turn things normal soon and move on.

So this may be a bit meta, but does this AmA help you in some way? What do you get out of it? I'm currently researching Reddit for my European Ethnology studies, and I am really interested in why people do AmAs, and I'm quite interested in your story.

Tornadothrowacc017762 karma

it's cathartic to share my story and answer questions about it. I feel like my experience was really crazy and unique and it feels good to get some of this stuff down in writing and also work through it in my own head. Almost like therapy.

AverageJoe682 karma

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Tornadothrowacc017762 karma

Yep i am. Fairfield Lakes off of Grange and Kemp. I'm not sure if that's against the rules to post that?

wandabaamari2 karma

I’m not from the states, are tornados like this common in Ohio? Do you regularly see storm warnings like this? I’m in Aus and we kinda similar things here and not going to lie, probably would have responded the same way. Glad you and the dogs are safe- mine can’t even stand thunder let alone this.

Tornadothrowacc0177610 karma

No they aren't common I've lived in Ohio for close to 4 years now and this is the first I've ever had to deal with. We occasionally get warnings like "conditions are possible for a tornado" but nothing usually happens. I guess the town i lived in got hit with a bad tornado in the 1990s or so I'm told, so although it's not "common" it's definitely not too crazy either. We got loud warnings on our phones and also heard the tornado sirens and it was extremely eery. Especially hearing the sirens after the tornado had already done its damage and left. When things were quiet, and all you heard was people yelling and the sirens in the background. It was like a horror movie.

ailyara3 karma

a town next to yours, Xenia, was pretty much destroyed in 1974 by a tornado

Tornadothrowacc017766 karma

Yeah so I've heard! what's funny is that I'm currently staying in Xenia with my roommates grandmother.

Bethiej782 karma

I know I’m going to sound rude, but it is what it is. We are from Xenia, and tornados are absolutely common in this area. We are taught tornado safety before learning how to write our name in school. It’s common knowledge when you live in this area that you need a disaster plan and enough insurance to carry out said plan. It’s awful losing everything in a tornado. We’ve lost loved ones, homes, and cars, but with proper planning you can flourish after this. Make a plan to move forward and take baby steps. If you plan on staying in this area though, you NEED a disaster plan. You ALSO need a good relationship with a local insurance agent. Someone who can help you be prepared for another major event.

Tornadothrowacc017763 karma

That doesn't sound rude. It really IS what it is. I've been trying not to mope around and just do what i need to do, being depressed about it really doesn't accomplish much. But god is it fucking stressful..

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cyXie1 karma

It’s been re-approved!

Tornadothrowacc017762 karma

Thanks :)