‘I hate you, tornado’: Effingham family recounts moment twister headed for their home

EFFINGHAM, Kan. -- An EF-1 tornado gave the folks in Atchison County quite a show Tuesday as it meandered for miles across farm land, ripping down power lines, taking out an old, abandoned home and causing chaos on a family farm.

Effingham is about an hour outside of the metro. Storm chasers said the tornado was on the ground for about 8 or 9 minutes and was pretty kind to the people who live in its path. The damage could have been much worse.

“When I got outside, I says, ‘I hate you, tornado,’ because I saw my trampoline. That is the first thing I saw,” said 6-year-old Graycie Sinclair, whose brand new trampoline was bent in half by the tornado.

The twister ripped through her family’s property, uprooted and snapping trees in half, destroyed a camper, ripped apart live stock pens and outbuildings.

“It is just terrifying knowing that you have kids, and all you can do is hide,” said Graycie’s mom, Myka Sinclair. “I can’t stop a tornado.”

The Sinclair family of four was cooking out underneath a clear sky. Except for one cloud in the distance, they had no idea what was about to come -- until Graycie’s dad saw a funnel fall from the cloud.

“When it touched down and it hit the house across the road, that's what my husband said: 'It's coming straight for us. Get down. It’s coming,” Myka said.

The Sinclairs quickly took shelter in the basement.

Graycie’s first tornado happened to fall on the day of her kindergarten graduation. What Graycie did after taking shelter proves she is a pretty good student.

“Well, there was a tornado, and I was making sure my family was safe,” Graycie said. “I checked if there was food, water, flashlights and a radio in the basement.”

The tornado heading straight for their house made a sudden turn right before impact and trailed off through the Sinclairs' property.

“We definitely had some angels watching over us,” Myka said “We definitely had somebody here protecting us for sure.”

The tornado shimmied past the house, and except for a few missing shingles, it was untouched by the twister.

The Atchison County director of emergency management said he had spotters in the area who saw the twister hit the ground, alerted the National Weather Service and warned residents of the danger.

With more storms expected to roll through the FOX4 viewing area on Wednesday, it's very important to have a safety plan in place. Just like Graycie knew just what to do, everyone else should, too.

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