March 6, 2012 in Nation/World

Kids survive twister strike

Associated Press photo

Ayanna, left, and Amber recover at a hospital in Charlotte, N.C., as their parents, Tyronne and Latonya Stevens, sit by their side.
(Full-size photo)

 CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When Latonya Stevens heard thunder and lightning in the distance, she knew the drill. Every time a storm drew near, her children would run to her room seeking comfort.

 So Stevens turned on a hall light for the children as high winds began buffeting the house. Then she blacked out and awoke to find only one of the four kids in sight and the house ripped apart.

 She quickly assumed the worst: that a twister had carried off the other three kids.

 “I was screaming for them,” Stevens said Monday. “I was panicking. For a moment, I didn’t know where they were.”

 No one knows precisely what happened, but this much is clear. The three children were in their rooms when the tornado approached. As the winds rose, most of the home’s second floor was swept away. After the storm passed, the kids were found outside on the ground, one of them 100 feet away along a major highway.

 All three emerged with only cuts and bruises – and a story to tell for the rest of their lives.

 The children – Amber, 3, Ayanna, 4, and Jamal, 7 – said they don’t recall anything.

Associated Press

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