LAKE CAREY – It has been 15 years since a tornado ripped through Wyoming County, hitting the community of Lake Carey fast and hard. Now as they watch a town in Oklahoma reduced to rubble, people here say it’s a frightening reminder of what they lived through not so long ago.
“It was a very scary night,” said Judy Mead.
“It was like nothing I would ever expected,” said Robert Reeves.
At Lake Carey 15 years ago, trees were tossed around like toothpicks and homes were ripped in half.
Mead remembers the F-3 tornado that hit this part of Wyoming County and the destruction well.
“I think we had seven different color shingles in our house. Don`t know where they came from, all the roofs, but we were counting the different color of shingles the next morning,” said Mead.
Volunteer fireman Randy White says this street today looks nothing like it did when he first responded to the calls for help.
“There were just trees and telephone poles everywhere, we had to actually literally cut our way to people’s homes,” said White.
After 48 straight hours of work that dreadful June day, there was still more to do. White says the rubble in Moore, Oklahoma is hard to fathom.
“You see pictures on TV. It doesn`t do it any justice at all,” said White.
One of the many lasting marks the tornado left in the Lake Carey community is a big empty slab of pavement that used to be someone’s home, Just another reminder of the day people in this community say they`ll never forget.
Linda Pallis keeps a photo collection from the tornado that ripped apart her property – a reminder of a much darker time.
“The house was pretty much gone, there were just a few walls standing up,” said Pallis.
She says despite what she experienced, her heart goes out for those hurting today out West.
“I did not lose a family member, I did not lose a child, I cannot imagine what that would be like,” said Pallis.
The tornado changed the landscape and the neighborhood in Wyoming County forever. Something many say only those living through disasters can understand.
“When it hits you, it`s different, when you see it,” said Robert Reeves of Lake Carey.
The tornado in Lake Carey killed two. Officials in Oklahoma say the tornado there has killed 24 and injured more than 230.