Local News

Closets, bathrooms still standing after tornadoes

Posted November 19, 2008 4:48 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2008 6:46 p.m. EST

— Emergency officials said lives were saved by people taking refuge in interior rooms – like a closet or bathroom – when tornadoes struck Johnston and Wilson counties Saturday.

David Batton, of Kenly, said he ran to the middle of the house to take cover during the storm. Others reported lying on the floor of their homes and holding onto bedposts.

“It was just stuff flying through the home like a knife going through a piece of paper,” tornado survivor Alan Hooks said.

Following the tornadoes, all that was left standing of some homes was the interior rooms, said Derrick Duggins, Johnston County emergency management director.

“The interior walls are going to be the most sturdy walls because they’re the load-bearing walls of the house, and if you can get to that wall, you’re more protected,” Duggins said.

The goal during a tornado is to put as many walls as possible between yourself and outside. If in a two-story home, experts recommend getting to the bottom floor. If there isn’t a good, small interior room like a closet or bathroom, people should get under a sturdy table and cover their heads and necks.

Another tip is to not open windows.