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Granbury Tornado Survivors Recall Storm, Wait To Return To Homes

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
Bud is the most veteran reporter at CBS 11 News with 42 years in m...
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GRANBURY (CBS 11 NEWS) - One of the hardest hit areas of Granbury was the Rancho Brazos, just north and east of downtown. And on Thursday, many of those forced to evacuate the night before were having trouble returning home. As they waited at DPS barricades, they shared their experiences with CBS 11 News.

“What I saw my mind could not comprehend,” said Eddie Parsons, who with his family rode out the tornado huddled in two bathtubs with mattresses over them. Wounds on Parson’s arms show the struggle he had keeping the mattress secure. “We just held on for the ride. I could just hear things everywhere hitting, you know? And I was praying.”

Click For Comprehensive Coverage of the May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

Avery Parsons rode out the storm lying underneath both his parents in the tub. “It felt like the worst roller coaster ride in existence. The rooms were shaking, the bricks were hitting the wall, it sounded like explosions were going off everywhere…when it was all over nothing was standing but the two rooms we were in.” “What I saw was total wipeout, total devastation. It looked like sticks, bricks, and twisted metal,” the elder Parsons added.

The Parsons joined a long line of residents in the Rancho Brazos neighborhood evacuated overnight. But by late Thursday, they weren’t allowed back in to search for pets or medicines of valuables.

“They’ve got cadaver dogs back there and gas lines and electrical problems and that kind of thing,” said Leon Mendoza, who packed his family in the car and fled just before the tornado hit. “I was trying to run. Scared,” he said, adding, “Hailstones as big as your fist trying to dodge them, dodging the other idiots on the road. Chaos.”

Over and over there were stories of fear and personal loss.

Lepel Alexander’s home sustained damage from tornadic winds and baseball-size hail. “Well, it was really scary,” he said. “The house shook; the wife and the granddaughter was under the staircase for protection.”

The Alexanders got out safely, but with only two of their three dogs. He must wait to return home to find their other pet. And, like the others, to ponder what they witnessed in the deadly storm, including the deaths of their fellow citizens.

“They say there were six of them that were killed, and I’m sure I know some of them when I find out their names,” Alexander told us. Avery Parsons called the experience surreal. “I’m just in shock, still. I can’t believe what happened. It felt like a nightmare. I wish I’d wake up.”

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