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“Held on as tight as he could,” Oklahoma family recalls moment Elk City tornado hit their home

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ELK CITY, Okla. - The pork chops and corn on the cob are still on the stove top. The birthday balloon floats above the kitchen table.

The Klem family was preparing for a routine night when this tornado made a sharp turn toward their Elk City neighborhood.

They tried to run to a neighbor shelter but the hail was too big and too dangerous.

"Softball-sized hail. It was so loud," said Matt Klem.

So, Matt put his wife and kids in this bedroom closet and held on for dear life.

"He grabbed both doors and held on as tight as he could. You could feel the suction," Krista Klem told NewsChannel 4.

When they came out, they could see the dark sky through their peeled back roof.

Their home of 12 years was gone. Their neighborhood decimated. They did, however, locate the family pets.

Friends and family are helping to gather the sentimental keepsakes and like so many, they are just thankful to have survived the wrath of Mother Nature.

"We had an angel and help from above. We are grateful to be alive," said Krista Klem.