Alabama Woman Survives Tornado by Holding onto Tree
West Alabama was hit with severe weather Wednesday, which produced heavy rain and strong winds throughout multiple counties. The intense storms affected many residents in the area, leaving several with property damage and power outages.
One Alabama resident came face-to-face with one of the tornadoes produced during Wednesdays' storms.
Jennifer Patterson, who lives on South Rosser Road in Tuscaloosa, shared her story in an exclusive interview on 95.3 The Bear's Steve Shannon Morning Show. Patterson said her encounter with the tornado occurred as she somehow found herself locked outside of her home.
"I got up and went to get in my car, and that's when I realized that I had locked the keys in the house," Patterson said. "So, I took a screwdriver and was trying to get in the front door."
Patterson said she spoke with her son on the phone as she explained how she thought the tornado was farther away during the time she spent outside in harm's way. However, time became crucial as Patterson struggled to get in the front door before finally moving toward the backside of her home.
"I'm standing there at the door for like, five minutes, trying to get my door open ... I thought, 'I don't have time for this,'" Patterson said. "So, I just throw the screwdriver down and went around to the back and went down in the woods. Next thing I know, it's on me and all I could do was just grab ahold of a tree that was down in there with me."
Patterson said she had never been in a tornado prior to this incident. She also stated that she was on the phone with her son during the entire experience.
The powerful twister passed over Patterson as she held on to the nearby tree for dear life while repeating the words, "Jesus help me." Patterson credits those words – and her faith – for ultimately saving her life.
"It's based by that grace that I'm here. I'm just being honest because the little tree that I was holding on to, He made it so strong for me," Patterson said. "Because I literally thought, you know, I was gone."
The tornado eventually passed and Patterson survived without obtaining any injuries. Though Patterson was spared, her mobile home suffered great damage, leaving only her master bedroom in good condition.
Following the aftermath of Wednesday's storms, Patterson said she will soon be moving in with her sister, whose husband is living with Alzheimer's disease.
"The Lord works in mysterious ways. You know, He saved my life. I'm here today. And [my sister] needs me. So instead of getting another place, I'm moving in with her to help her with her husband," Patterson said.
Patterson also said she would like others to refrain from judging her and the experience she had during Wednesday's severe weather without knowing the full story.