SEMINOLE, Okla., (KFOR) – Less than 48 hours after Seminole was damaged by an EF1 tornado, residents were forced to seek shelter as another severe storm moved through the area.
On Wednesday evening, tornadoes formed and hit the community of Seminole.
As sirens began to sound, residents took cover.
“The only thing I could do is pray. I had told my husband that we needed to get in the hallway, and he was wanting to get in the bathroom. I said, ‘No, we’ve got to get in the hallway. It’s the most inner part of the house, which most people should get into.’ And then I told him to get the pillows and the blankets and things like that to help give us some more protection. And then I just started praying,” said Mary Ann Kovene, a Red Cross volunteer.
Minutes after the storm moved through the town, KFOR storm chasers saw the destruction left behind.
Roofs were ripped from buildings and homes, large trees were down, and windows were blown out of several buildings.
Power lines were also down, leaving most of the community in the dark.
“I mean, we’ve had it on the outskirts and stuff but never this much damage inside the town,” said Kovene.
Residents who couldn’t reach their homes, or whose homes were severely damaged, headed to the Kelley Haney Center at Seminole State College.
The American Red Cross set up a shelter at the center, located at 35390 OK-9 in Seminole.
John Payne is one of the 16 Seminole residents who sought shelter at the center.
“I got back home and the devastation, I don’t know if I have a home or not,” said John Payne, a Seminole resident and father of three. “I don’t know if the kids are going to have any clothes and I couldn’t get none. It’s just devastating. People have got it worse than I do. Some have got homes, I don’t know if I do or not.”
Payne says he is currently in a daze and will have to wait until daylight to survey the damage.
Kovene says that she is grateful for all the help from surrounding communities and is holding onto her faith to keep her going.
“If it wasn’t for my faith, I couldn’t be this positive. And in situations like this, that’s the only way to be because if you look at the bad and think about the bad, then it’s not gonna do anything but hurt you. But look at the positive- the town has come together just as this all started. But not just the town, the state has come together to help us. We even have people from Texas that have come up here to help us, and it’s wonderful to see. To me, that’s having that faith knowing that people are out there wanting and willing to help,” said Kovene.