TODAY   |  November 18, 2013

Tornado victim: ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do’

Matt Lauer talks with Scott Gundy of Washington, Ill., whose home was destroyed after a series of tornadoes devastated the area Sunday.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> hit during those devastating tornadoes. scott joins us this morning. scott , how are you doing?

>> pretty good today, matt. better than yesterday. that's for sure.

>> you're lucky to be alive. that's for sure. you were away from your home when the first warning sirens went off. what were you doing? how long did it take you to get home?

>> well, i was at kroger. that's about five minutes from my house, getting some garbage bags actually and the sirens were coming on right when i was walking out of the store. and we've had tornado warnings before, you know? so i drive home and i'm in my backyard. i'm actually taking pictures for my boss of the sky. and then i just happen to turn south and here it comes. it was almost right on top of us. me and my son were out in the backyard. we run into the house. right as we're running into the house to go to the basement my windows disintegrate toward me. stuff flying toward the place. we finally get down in the basement and then it just went right over us. like two seconds.

>> you hear people all the time say it sounded like a freight train . you had no time to react. you were in the basement. what did it feel like or sound like?

>> it sounded just like a freight train . my wife came out the door and said scott i hear something and you can hear it just rumbling. so i look up and boy it was 50 yards from me. my house started rumbling, you know? it just went right over us. i got glass flying all over the place. shrapnel all over the place. i have a two-by-four in the side of my house.

>> you must look at your loved ones and counting everybody and making sure everybody is all right but then you open that door into the basement and head up into what was your home, what did you see?

>> i couldn't believe it, matt. i tell you. my neighbors houses -- i just couldn't believe it. so we run around going to all of my neighbors houses looking for survivors. i just couldn't believe it. i've got cars in trees. my gallant is three houses down. i've got neighbors crawling out of basements. we son went and helped a gentleman, our neighbor that the roof had caved in on him. it was just eerie silence and then all hell broke loose.

>> you were able to salvage anything from your home? i understand it was splintered.

>> i got the most important thing out which is pictures. video of my kids growing up. to me that's the most important thing. everything else can be replaced. but ourselves and my pictures, they can't be. so i was lucky to get those.

>> i'm thinking of you and all the folks out there scott . we're just a week or so away from thanksgiving. a lot to be thankful for in terms of being alive and your family safe. but where do you go from here?

>> well, i have a big day ahead of me. we're probably going to try to salvage some more. this whole town has a lot of things going on today. i mean, we had a football team that's 11-0 going to play in the semifinals this weekend. so hopefully that picks us up a little bit. other than that, i don't know what we're going to do, matt. i found pieces of my house, you know, 100 yards northeast of me. so, we'll be looking for bits and pieces today.

>> you hang in there, scott , all right?

>> yeah.

>> our thoughts are with you and all the people in your town there and we'll check back in with you. i want to know how you're doing.

>> okay. i appreciate that.

>> i appreciate you taking the time on a really difficult morning. scott gundy, thanks. gets an idea of how tough it is for people picks up the pieces.

>> al, i know the threat isn't over yet.

>> it's not, guys. this tornado is from washington, illinois from a young man -- can you pull up the audio on this.

>> and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil --

>> and that's what people were going through as this storm -- this is the first time they've had an ef-4 tornado in illinois in november. and watch these storm reports as they come in. you can see hail and wind. you can see as the time line goes through sunday you're going to see these tornadoes come in as well and by storm reports itself, this is the second most active storm report day of 2013 . and you can watch this system now make its way into the northeast. it's the cold front . we're not going to see that severe weather , the tornadoes, the long-track storms out of this but what we are looking at is a lot of wind. you can track the front right along it. look, the temperatures drop back to the west. chicago 37, cleveland 44, new york city 60. and the winds are going to be this big factor today. look at how they are going to be howling. we look for airport delays from boston, new york, into philadelphia. wind gusts of 40 to 45 miles per hour and the temperatures will be dropping by this time tomorrow. temperatures about 20 degrees colder than they are today along the eastern seaboard . we're going to have more on this and a big storm coming into the pacific northwest a little later.

>> thank you, al.