The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Storm Coverage

May 26, 2013

Former Enid man came face-to-face with twister

ENID, Okla. — A former Enid resident who now lives in Moore stared last week’s tornado in the face while taking his kids home from school.

Sean Kennedy, who has lived in Moore the past 15 years, was working near Crossroads Mall when he heard the tornado was coming. He rushed to Fisher Elementary School to get his three kids and ran into heavy traffic. He called the elementary school to have them prepare his kids, then parked and ran six blocks to the school. Hail already had started falling as he arrived at the school.

Carrying his smaller child, Kennedy told the other two to run, and they ran for his pickup.

“We ran in the hail. I scooped up the little one and told the others to run. When we got to the pickup, I told them to buckle up and hold on,” Kennedy said.

As he turned onto May Avenue, he was looking at the tornado.

“It was coming right at us. I’ve never been so scared in my life. I was afraid I wouldn’t get those kids to a safe place,” he said. “It looked like it was coming right at us.”

Kennedy made his way home and took the kids across the street to a neighbor’s tornado shelter. His youngest son has asthma and is very scared of tornadoes, and he began having trouble breathing. Kennedy ran out of the shelter and ran across the street in the hail to get his son’s inhaler, with the tornado right on top of them.

“I had to try three times to get the garage door open, then I ran through the house until I found an inhaler and ran back,” Kennedy said.

As it turned out, they were safe and their property was not damaged. Kennedy said his house was about a mile from the path of the tornado, which went over his house before touching down on its deadly path. He said he had debris and hail at his house, but nothing else.

“I was afraid I wouldn’t make it to the school in time. When they lock down, it’s too late; it doesn’t matter if you are the parent, they won’t release them to you,” Kennedy said.

Fisher Elementary School is about a mile and a half north of the disaster area, he said. Some of Kennedy’s friends did not arrive in time and were unable to get their children.

Ten people and four dogs were found in the shelter, Kennedy said.

As the tornado passed over, Kennedy said it sounded like a giant shop vacuum passing overhead.

“It was an awful sucking sound and the sirens were going off at the same time,” he said.

One of the shelter’s occupants had a radio, and they heard broadcasts of the storm flattening one house after another. Everyone had friends, relatives or co-workers who lived in the area that was hit by the tornado, he said.

“We were devastated. We didn’t know who was safe and who wasn’t. I lived in Moore in 1999 when the last tornado hit, and I was having flashbacks of that,” Kennedy said.

He admitted he has considered moving because of the tornadoes. He and his family have only lived in their house about a year. They strongly considered another house in Newcastle. He drove by that house after the storm.

“It’s just matchsticks and rubble,” he said. “We had a lot of soul-searching about that house. It was flattened to the slab,” he said.

Kennedy is wondering why storms follow the same path and said there must be a reason.

“This many times in the same area is not a coincidence,” he said.

1
Text Only
Storm Coverage
  • APTOPIX Severe Weathe_Hass(7).jpg Oklahoma death toll up to 13, with 7 still missing

    Authorities said five children and two adults remain missing and aren't expected to be found alive.

    June 2, 2013 1 Photo 1 Slideshow 2 Stories

  • Red Sox Yankees Baseb_Hass.jpg Damaging storms moving through east, south

    Heavy rain, thunderstorms, high winds and hail moved through sections of the Northeast on Sunday afternoon, leaving 30,000 in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine still without power late that night.

    June 2, 2013 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Severe Weathe_Hass.jpg 3 veteran storm chasers killed by Oklahoma tornado

    "He looked at tornadoes not for the spotlight of TV but for the scientific aspect. At the end of the day, he wanted to save lives and he gave the ultimate sacrifice for that." — Jim Samaras of his brother, Tim Samaras, who died with his son, Paul Samaras, and fellow storm chaser Carl Young during Friday's storms in the OKC area.

    The Discovery Channel planned to dedicate a show Sunday night to the three men, capping the broadcast with a tribute that will read: "In memory of Tim Samaras, Carl Young and Paul Samaras who died Friday, May 31st doing what they love, chasing storms."

    June 2, 2013 3 Photos

  • Severe Weather_Hass(38).jpg Sitting targets: On-edge Oklahomans opt to flee tornadoes

    Interstates and roadways already packed with rush-hour traffic quickly became parking lots as people tried to escape the oncoming storm. Motorists were trapped in their vehicles — a place emergency officials say is one of the worst to be in a tornado.

    June 1, 2013 5 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • Severe Weather_Hass(35).jpg Photo slideshow: Tornado outbreak deadly again Tornadoes rolled in from the prairie and slammed Oklahoma City and its suburbs Friday, trapping people in their vehicles as it swept down an interstate highway while commuters tried to beat the storm home. A mother and her baby and seven others were killed, but meteorologists who had warned about particularly nasty weather said the storm's fury didn't match that of a deadly twister that struck suburban Moore last week. The tornadoes came after another outbreak on Thursday, May 30, 2013, that caused damage in Broken Arrow and other parts of the state. Tornado damage also is seen from Missouri.

    June 1, 2013 2 Photos

  • Severe Weather_Hass(34).jpg Flooding reported in Metro after tornadoes

    Kristy Yager says city street Superintendent Randy Moulder is waiting for the rain to end before sending crews out to deal with the flooding. Yager says about an inch of water was also standing on the first floor of City Hall.

    May 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • MooreWarren.jpg Moore's Warren Theatre reopening today

    The theater complex sustained $500,000 to $1 million in damages but is structurally sound.

    May 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • Obama Oklahoma Tornad_Hass.jpg FEMA: 1,248 buildings destroyed in Oklahoma tornadoes

    The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency say they've compiled damage assessments from the storms that took place May 19 and May 20.

    May 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • Kennedy tornado_W.jpg Former Enid man came face-to-face with twister

    Moore resident said tornado sounded like a vacuum.

    May 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma Tornado-The _Hass(2).jpg Tornado upon them, quick choices decided fate

    With death staring them in the face and adrenaline coursing through their veins, the citizens of Moore were faced with the biggest decisions of their lives, and they had nothing to go on but gut instinct amid raw terror.

    >>Read their stories

    May 25, 2013 3 Photos