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Video: Survivor: Tornado was ‘most terrifying thing’

  1. Closed captioning of: Survivor: Tornado was ‘most terrifying thing’

    >> of the tornadoes went right through the home of lisa and ben , just south of fort worth . they're now joining us along with their two young daughters, abigail and alana. good morning to all of you.

    >> good morning.

    >> lisa , i understand you were at home with your two girls when -- when you heard the warning. how did you hear the warning, and how much time, how much time -- time it it give you to prepare?

    >> well, i had saw the news that something was coming. and i had about three minutes to get inside. i went into the bathroom with the girls. i had already prepared a kit in there, and i knew what i was going to do so i grabbed the girls, and i grabbed some pots and pans to put over our heads. we got in there. about three minutes later it hit our house.

    >> describe riding out this storm with your two little girls girls, lisa , in that bathroom.

    >> it was the most terrifying thing i have ever been through. i grabbed on to both kids, i mean so hard. i had no idea what was going on. when it hit our house, i heard a loud thud, a crash, and all of a sudden wind was coming through my house, i couldn't see anything, because i was inside the middle of the house in the bathroom. but, i held onto the girls, put a pan over their heads, blankets, and just prayed. just prayed.

    >> you mention survival kit that you had in the bathroom. you actually put it in just the week before. did it come in handy?

    >> yes. i had baby bottles, i had diapers, i had snacks. flashlights. i mean, everything i needed to last me a day if i needed to. and we used a lot of the stuff in that kit. thank god i had a plan and thank god we got in there in the time we did.

    >> ben , you have a very smart wife, first of all. she knew where to run. she knew to be prepared. right, with having a survival kit already in the bathroom. how did you first hear about this? because you weren't home at the time.

    >> right. no, we were -- i was in a meeting in a large office building , and we had started our meeting about 10:00 in the morning. and even to the point that we had lunch brought in and everything, and we never left the room. there was no window access, no tvs, anything, so we didn't learn about the storms until about 1:00, which was after it came and hit the house. and i'm from texas, grew up here, so we're kind of used to these storms blowing in and stuff. lisa is from massachusetts and i knew she's not, you know -- she's only been here for a few years. and she's been through one or two but nothing like what we had yesterday. so i ran and got my phone and got a hold of her after a few minutes of pretty bad cell service coming through yesterday. but, got a hold of her, and you know, she remembered from some of the stuff that we've talked about on a couple other storms that have come through and very happy she put the plan in action, and followed it through and kept everybody very safe.

    >> ben and lisa , you've got your hands full but i know you're feeling very lucky this morning. thank you so much for joining us. good

By
TODAY contributor
updated 4/4/2012 9:13:36 AM ET 2012-04-04T13:13:36

A quick-thinking, well-prepared mom averted a family tragedy when she hustled her two young daughters to safety just moments before tornado whipped through their home in northern Texas on Tuesday.

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Speaking on TODAY via satellite from Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday, Lisa Rebstock told Ann Curry she had prepared an emergency storm kit just a week before, and managed to get 3-year-old daughter Abigail and 7-month old Alayna to safety in the bathroom just before the twister damaged their home in Kennandale.

Video: Why has this tornado season been so intense? (on this page)

"It was the most terrifying thing I have ever been through," Rebstock said.  "I grabbed onto both kids so hard; I had no idea what was going on.

"When it hit our house, I heard a loud thud, a crash, and all of a sudden, wind was coming through the house. I couldn't see anything ... but I held onto those girls, put a pan over their heads, blankets, and just prayed."

Video: Roker: Worst over for Dallas area (on this page)

Fast thinking
The Rebstock family was one of many hard hit by the six to 13 twisters that touched down in Texas Tuesday at the peak of tornado season. While authorities reported numerous injuries and potentially millions in damages, no fatalities have been reported.

Rebstock, who appeared on TODAY with her girls and husband Ben, saw firsthand the damage a tornado can cause — and just how close her family came to calamity. After the storm passed, she inspected her home: Glass shards were strewn all over the living room, and a neighboring home's roof had blown off and slammed into her garage door.

Story: Mom who saved kids from tornado: ‘It was instinct’

Ben was at work as the tornado approached, and Lisa had to think fast as she learned the severity of the situation. "I saw on the news that something was coming, and I had about three minutes to get inside. I went into the bathroom with the girls ... about three minutes later, it hit our house."

Fortunately, Lisa had assembled emergency supplies. "I had baby bottles, I had diapers, I had snacks, flashlights — everything I needed to last me a day if I needed to," she told Curry. "And we used a lot of that stuff in that kit. Thank God I had it planned and thank God we got in (the bathroom) at the time we did."

Meanwhile, husband Ben was unaware of his family's harrowing ordeal, he told Curry: He was in a late morning meeting that stretched into lunchtime.

Story: Man who sheltered tragic twister family: Thought my home was safer

"We didn't learn about the storm until about 1 o'clock, which was after it came and hit the house," he said. "I ran and got my phone and got a hold of her after a few minutes — there was pretty bad cell service yesterday."

As a native Texan, Ben was accustomed to the wicked weather that sometimes visits the Lone Star state. But he feared for his wife, a Massachusetts transplant, and their children.

Video: Survivor: Tornado was ‘most terrifying thing’ (on this page)

"She's only been here for a few years ... she's been through one or two (storms), but nothing like what we had yesterday," he told Curry.

"She remembered from some of the stuff we had talked about on a couple of other storms that had come through, and I'm very happy she put the plan in action, followed it through and kept everybody safe."

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