A possible tornado was being tracked just south of their home, but Dora Tinsley thought they appeared to be in the clear.
Dora was at her home in Newalla on May 19, 2013 when disaster struck. Storms were passing through central Oklahoma, and Tinsley and her family were watching for weather updates on her television.
“I was watching the sky from my front porch,” Tinsley said. “There was no lightening, noise or hail beforehand. But I did think the clouds looked weird.”
When the power suddenly went out, her daughter suggested they move to the cellar. Tinsley, her daughter, two grandchildren, and four Chihuahuas hurried down into the basement. In just three minute’s time, the tornado had made a direct impact and destroyed the family’s home. Pieces of what once was a house were thrown as if made of paper.
“It looked like the whole house had been picked up and put in a blender,” Tinsley said. The damage was absolute, with part of the floor ending up in the backyard trees.
Their house was gone, but the Tinsley family survived, including three larger dogs who somehow escaped the destruction outside. With the entire family intact, Tinsley attributes their survival to divine intervention. “I lost my husband in 2009. He and God were looking out for us."
For 24 days after the tornado, the entire Tinsley family lived in a small portable trailer on their property. The American Red Cross and partner agencies were able to provide assistance and resources immediately after the storm to Dora who has recently been able to move into a new house.
With recovery still ongoing, it will be quite a while before things are completely back to normal, but Tinsley was willing to give a little bit of her old home to those who have helped her get a new one.
“The Red Cross has been so helpful. I don’t know what we would have done without them.”