Weather forecasts had been monitoring a large storm with multiple tornado outbreaks that struck the Southern region of the United States March 22, 2022. There were numerous supercell thunderstorms over central Texas and southern Oklahoma. Stormchasers were busy with their cameras tracking down and monitoring the storm at various locations.
Among the multiple tornados spawned by the storm was a category EF-2 with winds between 111 and 135 miles an hour that descended on Cushing, Texas. That night, unaware of what was happening around their home, slept Jose and Marilu De La Rosa and their children, Luis (10), Christopher (9) and Alejandro (14).
“I was sleeping but then I heard what sounded like large rocks landing on the room,” said Mrs. De La Rosa. “I covered my ears but then I heard the children screaming. My husband yelled, get up! We need to see what is happening with the kids! I think I was half asleep when I got up because I hit my head on the closet door frame.”
“I heard a loud bang. Everything was flying around,” said Mr. De La Rosa.
And then it was over. Miraculously no one was hurt in the De La Rosa home nor in their son’s home next door. However, both homes were heavily damaged.
Mr. De La Rosa added, “we decided to wait until the morning to assess the damage. The tornado destroyed a lot of things and ripped portions of the roof, but we stayed anyway.”
The family had survived at least one previous major storm, a hurricane. But with a hurricane you have more time to prepare. A tornado, on the other hand, often comes and goes with little warning especially in areas like the infamous Tornado Alley along the Midwest portion of the United States, including Texas and Oklahoma.
“We were very lucky that we only suffered material damage,” said Mr. De La Rosa.
Mrs. De La Rosa was touched as well. “Blessed be God,” said Mrs. De La Rosa. “We can replace things, not lives.”
The American Red Cross was there on the scene of the devastation. Each year, the Red Cross responds to more than 60,000 disasters nationwide. While the vast majority of these disasters are single-family and apartment home fires, the Red Cross stands ready to support all affected in their immediate emergency needs.
“The Red Cross were the first to arrive to ask us if we were alright,” said Mrs. De La Rosa. Mr. De La Rosa agreed, saying “We were relieved and very pleased to have seen the American Red Cross come to our home.”
Story by F.A. Philibert