If you live in an area that sees frequent tornadoes, then you know how terrifying and deadly they can be. Every year in the Midwest, people die after a Tornado strikes their town or city. That’s what makes this Marian County, Texas woman’s story so miraculous. When a tornado landed right on top of her home in 2017, her chances of survival were slim. What saved her? Her bathtub.
Woman Survives A Tornado By Flying In Her Bathtub
75-year-old Charlesetta Williams thought she had already lived the majority of her life’s craziest experiences. She was watching TV in her home in January 2017, when a devastating tornado struck her town. Already that week, dozens of twisters had killed at least 20 people across the Southern United States. (1)
She heard the tornado warning go off and ran for cover in her bathtub, pulling a blanket over top of herself for protection. Mere moments later, the tornado made a direct hit on her home, tearing the roof right off the top of her house. The next thing Williams knew, she was in the woods near her home, still in the bathtub. (2)
“The only thing she remembers is that the tornado came in from the southwest across her home. At that point the whole backside of her house was sheared off. Her bathtub was ripped out of her bathroom and she ended up still in her tub in some woods near her home.” said senior meteorologist from the National Weather Service James Hansford.
A True Miracle
It’s incredibly hard to believe, but it’s true. The 75-year-old woman flew through the tornado in her bathtub, landed in the woods nearby, and came out with barely a scratch. Her house, meanwhile, was completely destroyed. She said she didn’t actually see anything – she was hiding under the quilt the entire time. It was a wild ride, one that she certainly doesn’t ever want to take again.
Why The Bathtub?
Experts actually suggest that a bathtub is an excellent place to hide when a Tornado strikes. Specifically, a tub that is in a ground-floor bathroom with no outside walls. This is because the goal is to put as many walls between you and the incoming tornado as possible. The sturdy walls of the tub also offer another layer of protection. (3)
Of course, the safest place is a tornado shelter or the basement of your home. If you don’t have a basement, however, then a ground floor bathroom, closet, or other space that has no outside walls or windows is your best option. When hopping in the tub, experts suggest covering yourself with blankets and pillows and, if you have time, strapping on a bike helmet.
Other Incredible Tornado Survival Stories
Williams isn’t the only one to beat the odds and survive a direct-hit tornado. The Ashworth family from Bertram, Texas is one of those cases. When a 125 mile-per-hour twister touched down directly above their home in their small Texan town, the odds were against them. The tornado ripped their house right off of its foundation and tossed it 100 yards away. When the house landed, however, it was completely intact – including the family of four huddled inside. (4)
“We pulled the mattress over and we shut this door. This door blew through and we heard it hit and felt the suction and we just hunkered down praying,” explained father and husband Trent.
Moments later, they felt the house rise. They then felt the landing. When the storm passed they looked around, shocked to see that everyone was okay.
“Nobody got hurt–none of our animals, none of us. We got little scrapes and stuff, but God was good to us today.” he said.
Another Bathtub Rescue
When a terrible twister hit their town of Harrisburg, Illinois, an elderly couple’s home took a direct hit. They climbed into their bathtub for safety as the storm tore apart their home. Some time later, their son came looking for them. He found them about 50 yards from where their home was, alert and awake, underneath the tub. (5)
Reunited With His Furry Friend
When a Tornado destroyed his Limestone County, Alabama home while he was at work, Greg Cook rushed home only to find his house and the majority of his neighborhood completely destroyed. His biggest concern? His beloved chocolate labrador named Coco. He crawled into a window to see what was left of one of the only hallways left standing, he found his dog there. He was wet and shivering, but he was alive.
“It was just such a relief, I was happy to see him,” said Cook through tears. “I love my dog. He’s my best friend.”
Tornadoes are destructive and take many lives each year. Still, there are many incredible stories of survival like these ones. One thing is for sure, these people won’t be taking life for granted any time soon.
- “This 75-Year-Old Flew Through a Tornado in Her Bathtub and Landed Without a Scratch.” Esquire. Jack Holmes. January 25, 2017.
- “75-Year-Old Woman Rides Through Tornado in a Tub for the Ultimate Survival Story.” Time. Raisa Bruner. January 25, 2017.
- “CAN YOU REALLY SURVIVE A TORNADO IN A BATHTUB?” Mid Land USA.
- “Family Miraculously Survives Tornado.” Guide Post. Adam Hunter.
- “The Midwest’s deadly tornadoes: 5 miraculous stories.” The Week. The Week Staff. January 8, 2015.