The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

May 18, 2013

Residents ride out storm on Roy Long Road

By Rebecca Croomes

— Kay Porter noticed the windy weather Friday afternoon and worried the ferns on the front porch of her Roy Long Road home would get out of shape. The plants were destined for her cousin’s Saturday wedding, and she decided to go out and move them.

“I opened the door when the wind got up,” Porter, 57, said. “It just like sucked me back and closed the door.”

Porter’s husband was away at the time, but she was at home with her daughter, Dawn, 38, and a friend when a tornado touched down.

The friend looked outside and shouted for the two women to take cover when the storm hit.

Dawn watched as debris flew around them and trees began falling near the house. They grabbed a mattress and Porter’s two dogs and jumped into a bathtub.

“It was just like a minute and it was over with,” Porter said.

When the group emerged, a large tree had narrowly missed the home, limbs lay everywhere and a smaller tree was snapped in half in the front yard. Only two of the ferns remained untouched.

“I’m still shaky,” Porter, who has lived through both the 1974 and 2011 super outbreaks, said later on Friday as she observed the damage and talked to relatives.

“I guess I was in shock … this just came out of nowhere,” she said. “It’s great we’re still here.”