BENTON, Ky./VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Jeff and Karen Newman are siblings-in-law from Vincennes who bought homes across the street from each other in Benton, Kentucky. That city and other parts of the state were ravaged by deadly tornadoes on December 10.
“We started watching the weather mid-day, we knew it was going to be bad,” Jeff recalled.
Hours of being vigilant turned into moments of urgency when a line showed the deadly EF-4’s projected path.
“Like they say, it sounds like a freight train. We heard a freight train coming, closed the doors and buckled it up. Rode it out and two and a half, three minutes later, it was gone,” Newman said.
Their vacation home doesn’t have a basement, Jeff says he and his wife emptied a closest took shelter and packed it as much as they could. Unable to do anything, but wait.
‘I tell everybody it’s like riding a roller coaster with your eyes closed. You can’t see anything, but you can hear and feel everything,” Jeff added.
In those moments, one thing came to his mind.
“I just looked at my wife and wondered if we’d still be here when it was over, that was it,” He stated.
The aftermath showed Newman’s house suffered some damage to the roof and a broken window. His neighbors’ homes were destroyed, ravaged and lay as a pile of debris.
A place once described as a bustling area in the summer was now destroyed.
Across Jeff’s house, his sister-in-law’s home purchased less than a year ago, is a complete loss after three trees fell on it.
Karen Newman was in Vincennes during the storms unable to assess the damage until the following day.
“I wasn’t prepared for what we were seeing, knew what had happened but wasn’t prepared. My son, it took him all day to basically comprehend just what he was seeing,” Newman said.
She adds the devastation is just now starting to hit her, “it’s not getting any better.”
Newman says she’s choosing to rebuild her home due to the memories made with her family but adds the storms have forever changed her.
“You can’t just imagine until you’ve seen it. When you hear those warnings, take cover. I wasn’t always one that did. I will from now on, it’s just horrible.” She stated.
As for her brother-in-law, his surroundings show just different things could have been.
“As the days pass, there’s not a day that goes by with the same question popping up. Why were spared when so many didn’t,” Newman added.
Nexstar has partnered with American Red Cross to assist the affected areas in any way possible. More information can be found by clicking on this link.