Oklahoma tornadoes: Guthrie man makes it to storm shelter just in time

Tornado damages portions of Guthrie
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Published: May 24, 2011

Johnny Hannah sat on his front patio overlooking a golf course Tuesday afternoon as a tornado hidden in heavy rain raced toward him.

He didn't realize the imminent danger until cedar limbs and other spinning debris drove him into the tornado shelter in his garage.

He got inside just in time.

“My garage door started buckling so much, and the debris sounded like giant hail,” said Hannah, 63.

Hannah, his wife and his brother-in-law huddled in the shelter until the noise quieted.

“I opened up the cellar door and I could see sky and I thought, ‘Oh, we've got problems,'” he said.

Hannah's brick home was destroyed. Blown out windows, toppled walls and debris littered the area. One of his two cats was missing.

His was one of at least eight homes that were destroyed or damaged in the neighborhood near the Cedar Valley Golf Course.

Twenty minutes before the tornado struck his home, he was on the phone with his sister, who had just lost her home to the same tornado when it was 30 miles to the southwest in Piedmont.

“She was just inconsolable,” he said.

“What's the chances of a brother and sister both losing their homes?”

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