Tornadoes, extreme weather tear through southern Plains


Extreme weather continued to batter huge swaths of the Midwest and the southern Plains on Tuesday, leaving survivors just grateful they weren’t killed or seriously injured.

A tree crashed through the home of Lisa Watson, but the Tulsa, Oklahoma, mom said she couldn’t care less about property damage as long as her family was safe.

“I’m just trying to take a breath. It was so scary. I just thank God we’re all OK,” Watson said, her voice quivering in an interview with NBC affiliate KJRH. “That’s all that matters is we have our lives. Thank God for that.”

She added: “You can replace your home and your cars, not your family.”

Watson recounted the terrifying, early morning moments when she and her husband realized they needed to take cover.

“Yes, we were in bed and then the alarms were going off, so my husband and me, the first thing to do was get the kids,” Watson recalled. “We got the kids, made sure they were OK, and then we got them and put them in the hallway. We got blankets and put it on top of us and just huddled together and stayed and prayed.”

Residents of the southwestern Oklahoma town of Mangum were picking up the pieces Tuesday from a tornado that struck Monday. While there was property damage in the rural community, somehow the livestock survived.

“The pigs are walking around wondering what happened to their house,” Greer County Emergency Management Director Glynadee Edwards said.

Strong winds, downpours and hail were forecast for Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois on Tuesday.

Much of the Sooner State was under a flash flood warning.

A woman in Oklahoma City desperately held on to tree branches as fast-rushing waters overtook N.W. 178th Street and Council Road.

A helicopter for NBC affiliate KFOR captured the dramatic momentsat about 10 a.m. local time when bystanders used tow rope and jumper cables to pull the woman to safety.

Marissa Whitman, 20, wades in about 3 feet of floodwater from the swelling Mississippi River, while guiding a boat carrying her boyfriend Brendan Cameron and his mother, Tory Cameron, to their home along Pet Street, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in East Foley, Mo. “I just need to see if the water reached inside,” said Tory. The family had to evacuate Saturday when the water rose suddenly. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

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