Storm gave no warningWritten by Kristen Criswell | | email@example.com
The aftermath of the tornadoes on June 5 affects every kid differently, said Jill Sonick, who lives on County Road 7 in Delta.
On the way to a baseball game June 8, Jill’s 12-year-old son told her, “I hope it doesn’t get rained out, because if I can play this game, I’ll realize everything will be OK,” Jill said.
Jill was home with three of her four children and their friends when the storms hit. They heard no alarm and only knew about the tornado warning because a boy who was staying the night received a text message from his mother, Jill said.
“I used to love a good thunderstorm and that’s all it seemed like before [the tornado]. Weather-wise there was no warning as far as I was concerned,” Jill said. “People say the sky turns green or it goes completely still, we would not have guessed anything was wrong.”
County Road 7, one of the hardest hit streets, is out of siren distance. The closest siren to the road is at County roads 5 and D, a few miles away, said Justin Thompson, emergency management director for the Fulton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
More than 68 homes in Fulton County were damaged by the storm, with half sustaining significant damage or total destruction, according to the Fulton County EMA.
In the basement of their home, Jill and the children heard two popping noises with the second accompanied by everyone’s ears popping. Besides the popping, the most distinct noise was Jill’s 10-year-old daughter.
“The most obvious sound in our basement was my daughter at the top of her lungs — ‘Please God, save us! Please God, save us!’ Grace just kept yelling it over and over again,” she said.
The group could also feel the house shaking back and forth.
“It shook so bad we were afraid this was leveled above us and the kids were freaking. ‘We won’t be able to get out!’” Jill said.
The Sonick home was not leveled, but sustained damage.
The tornado broke many of the home’s windows, a curtain rod was stuck in the dining room wall, the office door was blown off its hinges and the laundry room door was jammed. Walls throughout the house were cracked; debris, insulation and glass scattered the floors, a garage door was sucked out and the structure of the garage received severe damage.
An insurance agent has seen the house, but a structural engineer has not evaluated the integrity of the home yet, Jill said.
The family’s truck and van were totaled in the driveway and in the backyard their barn was destroyed.
Jill said her barn and the neighbor’s barn may have saved the two houses, according to National Weather Service representatives that came June 6.
“They said the barns slowed down the tornado and it’s a very good chance that if the barns had not been there that one or both of our houses would look like the ones that don’t exist,” Jill said.
The tornado passed between the Sonick home and their neighbor’s house approximately 300 feet away as it traveled toward the street.
April Sherick, who was clearing debris outside her brother’s home June 8, said her brother, Don, and his two sons were at their house in front of the Sonicks’ during the tornado.
“He was on the phone with his brother-in-law and he’s like ‘Did you know there was a tornado warning out there?’ and Don’s like, ‘Yeah, I hear it,’ and then, like, it is all of a sudden ‘Oh shit, I’ve got to go,’” April said.
Don managed to get his two boys from their rooms into the bathtub and then the storm was done, April said.
Don’s house is tilted on its foundation and his barn is destroyed.
Two trucks and a barn were thrown against the house and only the frame of the family’s camper was found, April said.
“Some guy at East Lake and Reynolds Road found my brother’s Boy Scout card in a plastic bag that was in the attic of the barn. He picked it up, searched the phone book and found my mom’s phone number,” April said. “It’s a good 45 minutes from here. I’m sure there’ll be tons of stuff people will be finding.”
Across the street on County Road 7, three houses were leveled and a few received major damage. At one of the leveled houses, owned by the Mills, a young girl was sucked up by the tornado and dropped back out, Jill said. One family, the Circles, found two live horses in their pool that were picked up by the tornado and moved from their home across the street, Jill said.
The tornado originally landed near State route 109. It traveled 7 miles and was a half a mile wide at some points, according to Thompson. In addition to homes, the storm also left damage at Oak Openings Preserve, uprooting, chopping and destroying trees.
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