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Oklahoma Twister Leaves Stories Of Heartbreak & Hope

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MOORE, Okla. (CBSDFW.COM) – As the day goes on CBS 11 News crews in Oklahoma have seen and heard stories of heartbreak and hope.

CBS 11 News Reporter Steve Pickett is a Oklahoma native and went back to the Sooner state in 1999 when the city of Moore was hit by another a EF-5 tornado. With all of the similarities and differences between the storms… the heartache is the same.

With more children being affected by Monday’s storm perhaps the hurt is more widespread. But there is no doubt that Oklahoma and Oklahomans are simply in awe by the mere size of this tragedy.

A rainstorm moved through central Oklahoma around Noon on Tuesday. The water fell on the already drenched city of Moore.

But the wet weather didn’t stop Wesley Cordell and his brother James, a Sherman resident, or the other family members from searching through what’s left of their mother’s home. “Tornado come through and my mom was trapped here when I got here,” Wesley recalled as he pointed to a section of the house.

His mother, 74-year-old Johnnie Cordell sat alone inside her home Monday afternoon. The only difference was on this day — there were two demolished cars sitting where the 2nd floor of her home once was. Her son Wesley said, “If these cars weren’t here, I don’t see how everything else could’ve have come [down] right on top of her.”

Every house surrounding Johnnie Cordell’s sat in the tornado’s wide path. There isn’t a whole lot left of those dwellings.

Luckily for Johnnie her son and others pulled her out. Wesley said the only thing on his mind was, “I gotta get to my mom. I just gotta get here… home. Find her, just find my mom. That’s all I had on my mind.”

Many used Tuesday afternoon to return to their homes and assess the impact, and retrieve what they could. They know for others, they are grieving loved ones killed here. Moore resident Mike Hinkley said, “I think right now people are just digging out, wondering what’s the next step and I think that just realizing that God has spared you is a pretty good start.”

As for 74-year-old Johnnie Cordell, after being pulled from the rubble of her home she now sits safe at her daughter’s house safe, with a bump on her head, and happy to be alive.

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