Hampton woman shares her family’s story of survival in deadly Alabama tornado


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton woman is sharing her sister’s story of survival in the wake of the deadly tornado that hit  Alabama and Georgia on Sunday. 

Severe weather spawned tornadoes leaving a path of death and destruction behind
In Alabama, 23 people were killed – 10 of those victims were all from one family. 

The victims range in age from six  to 89 years old. 

Emma Vinson-Brown tells 10 On Your Side her sister lived through it, but lost everything. 

Her family’s story has been quickly spreading online. 

“I saw it on that video. I could not believe it,” Vinson-Brown said.

MORE: What you can do to help Alabama tornado victims

MORE: Two corporations offer to pay funeral costs for all 23 killed in Alabama tornado

Vinson-Brown said she felt shock and relief at the same when she saw went online.

With phone lines down and no way of getting in touch, Emma learned her sister and relatives were safe after her nephew posted a video on Facebook.

In the video, Emma’s 72-year-old sister, Earnestine Reese, is seen sitting in the middle of what used to be her home.

“The whole house had just been opened up and fell,” Vinson-Brown said. “I get emotional because I just thank the Lord they survived.”

Vinson-Brown said the family took shelter in the bathroom. They were stacked one on top of the other when the twister swept through.

“She described it as, when she looked up, it was jet black. They could see things twirling around because the roof was gone.”

Within seconds, the house was ripped to pieces but the family made it out alive. They were some of the few that lived to tell their story.

“Her neighbors, everybody that she knew and they grew up with, gone,” Vinson-Brown said.

Since then, her sister’s story of survival has been shared with news outlets nationwide.

Despite a broken hip, Reese is in good spirits.

“We just thank the Lord that they were survivors,” Vinson-Brown said. “Prayers go out to all the family friends and everyone that did not make it.”

Reese is currently in the hospital and awaiting surgery for her hip. 

If you’d like to help the family recover, click here.

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