'It could have ended a whole lot differently': Texas family blessed to be alive after tornado tears apart home

Nearly two dozen tornados were reported Friday in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. At least one of them hit in Powderly, Texas. A tornado whipped across the small community northeast of Dallas in Lamar County at 5:45 p.m. as the atmosphere became prime for rotating supercells.

POWDERLY, Texas – Wes Brown and his family are alive and blessed.

Nearly two dozen tornados were reported Friday in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas following an expected outbreak of possible twisters ranking EF-2 or higher on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

At least one of them hit in Powderly, Texas. A tornado whipped across the small community northeast of Dallas in Lamar County at 5:45 p.m. as the atmosphere became prime for rotating supercells.

"We didn't know exactly how bad it was until we stepped out, and that's when your life changes."

— Wes Brown

Brown said he knew the storms were coming. He, along with his wife, two teenage sons and pets, took shelter in a reinforced interior closet inside their home when the storm hit.

"The reason we're alive is because Jesus Christ," Brown said. "He spared us last night."

Packed inside the closet, Brown said he noticed when the wind started to change and blow, and as it hit, it became very loud as glass began to shatter.

"We didn't know exactly how bad it was until we stepped out, and that's when your life changes," he said.

As the sun came up Saturday morning, the sound of chainsaws could be heard echoing throughout the tight-knit community.

The Browns lost pretty much everything. Their home and nearby garage are destroyed. Every one of their vehicles were either totaled or are damaged.

"We're just trying to sift through. But it's things," Brown said. "I thank God that I have my wife and my children. So that's what's most important. And if it wasn't for him, it could have ended a whole lot differently."

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Numerous friends and family arrived shortly after the storm to help the Browns with many coming back Saturday to begin to pick up the pieces and start the long road to recovery.

Standing in front of the rubbles that once sheltered Brown’s family from the storm is now too much to even take in.

Knowing millions have stood once before where he stands today trying to find the things of importance, like close, pictures and valuables.

"Fifty years of stuff strung from here to who knows where," he said. "It's a lot to take in."

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And at the same time, Brown wonders what to do about the insurance and where his family is going to live.

"Luckily, we are blessed to have family that live nearby. So, we stayed with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law last night," he said. "They opened our home to us and let us stay there just a few miles down the road."

The National Weather Service will be on the ground in Powderly on Saturday morning surveying the damage. A local judge declared a disaster in the area, one of the first steps toward getting additional help for the town.

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