MONROE COUNTY, Ind. — An EF-3 tornado tore through Monroe County on Friday night with 138 mph winds that leveled homes along West Wolf Mountain Road.
Almost every home had its roof and outer walls blown off. In some cases, the foundation is all that’s left.
“It was over fairly quick,” Nell Parish said. “It just seemed like forever.”
Parish was hunkered down in an interior hallway when the tornado struck with five other family members, including her grandson Jake Hill.
“Stuff is falling, debris,” Hill said. “We had insulation in our eyes, we’re breathing in insulation.”
Parish said she held on to the family dog and wasn’t sure if she’d make it out alive.
“My life kind of flashed before my eyes because I thought ‘Is this it? Am I gonna go out the back of the house?'” Parish said.
When the family emerged from the bathroom and hallway, they could see the sky as rain started to fall on them. Their roof was gone.
It was pitch black and their road was blocked in both directions. They couldn’t do anything but wait for help to arrive.
“We were out here sitting in our wet clothes for six or seven hours,” Hill said. “There was nowhere to go.”
Just down the road, Charlie Rollins’ mother was thrown from her mobile home when the twister hit. Rollins said she was laying on the ground, in the dark, all alone.
“I got a text from her that said ‘help’ and you can imagine as a son you get that text,” Rollins recalled. “You don’t know what you don’t know, but when I got that text, I just knew I knew what happened. I knew the storm had gotten her.”
Rollins said his mom broke her leg and had to get numerous stitches for a gash on her back. He along with other family and volunteers have spent the past few days working to clean up the overwhelming mess.
“You don’t know where to start and you don’t know if there’s ever going to be an end,” Rollins said
He said he was really just happy that his mom is still alive.
Despite the devastation the tornado left behind, that was the sentiment shared by so many. They may have been left with nothing, but at least they still have each other.
“All of this is just material things, and that can be replaced. People can’t,” Parish said. “We still have each other to hold onto. And I’m grateful for that.”
The American Red Cross was in Monroe County handing out meals to survivors and volunteers.
Crews are also still working to restore power.
In the meantime, the families we talked to are staying with friends until they can figure out where to go from here.