Aftermath of a tornado’s roar: Local couple amazed they survived the fast and furious twister
Mar 07, 2012 | 2702 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BLAINE LAWSON said he and his wife did not have time to run and hide before a twister ripped the roof of their house off and left the two of them in a pile of debris unscathed. Photo by WILLIAM WRIGHT
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This was not the work of a thunderstorm. Thunderstorms do not do this kind of damage. Even before the National Weather Service confirmed Friday’s devastating storm had produced an EF-2 tornado, Blaine and Billie Lawson knew what it was. A fast and furious twister had touched down and demolished their home.

The Cleveland couple knew from the sound of powerful rushing air rumbling louder and louder into a roaring wind that peeled the roof off their house that a tornado was blowing their home into a frenzy. Blaine said he also knew their lives were spared by the grace of God, for nothing else in their house survived intact.

“We were trying to listen to the weather on the scanner when the chairs and tables went flying on our screen porch,” said the 76-year-old Blaine. “Then we heard a big bang and the roof went flying off the top of our house and we were covered in debris! You didn’t have time to run! My wife was hollering. It sounded like a train and then — bang! It was like an explosion!”

Everything was gone. It appears Blaine and Billie were sitting in the only two places they could have survived the destruction unharmed.

“The Lord left about 4 or 5 feet of ceiling up between us and spared us,” Blaine said. “We came out without a scratch. We’re just thankful to be alive. The amazing thing is that it didn’t even knock out a single glass window in my brother’s motor home that is also sitting on my property.”

Blaine, who retired from Merchants Bank in Cleveland after 19 years, took a long look at the aftermath of the March 2 tornado on his longtime home and said, “It took 50 years to get it and 10 seconds to lose it all. That’s how fast things can change.”

Blaine said he and his wife, have homeowner’s insurance and are not worried about the loss of property, but are ever thankful for their lives being spared in the path of a tornado.

Troy Spence, director of the Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency, said Friday’s tornado produced winds of 130 mph. At least six homes were destroyed in the area, with 13 others heavily damaged and 20 more moderately damaged.

Anyone having damage can report the type and extent to the Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency at 728-7289. The series of storms from February 28 to March 3, is expected to become the first billion-dollar disaster for the United States in 2012.