SALADO, Texas — “That’s all I have left, just sighs,” Naomi Benavidez said Wednesday.
Bulldozers crunched through snapped trees and crumbled homes in Central Texas Wednesday, showing the impact of a bad storm. But it’s stories from people like Benavidez that show how a vicious tornado changes lives forever.
“She was picking up … holding onto her babies as much as she could,” Benavidez said.
According to Benavidez, her sister, her sister’s husband and their two kids are now in the hospital after a tornado tore through Salado Tuesday, about 50 miles north-northeast of Austin.
“The little girl — she had to hold onto her by her hair. They ended up getting lifted up from the trailer and just thrown into the trees,” Benavides said. “She was about three-months pregnant; she lost her baby today.”
Benavides and other relatives are walking through the area, collecting what’s still worth saving.
“I want to say this is probably the laundry room door,” Benavidez said as she picked up a door knob from the rubble.
Bell County Judge David Blackburn said the tornado tracked for eight miles, hurting 23 people. Twelve people ended up in the hospital. One was in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon.
According to Bell County, the Cedar Valley tornado is a confirmed “high-end EF-3 tornado,” reaching a maximum wind speed around 165 mph.
Sixty-three structures were damaged.
“We believe we have accounted for all individuals that were in the path,” Blackburn said.
Still, people are without power and water. One of the main priorities is getting that restored and making sure no one is buried under rubble, according to Blackburn.
“It is not, in any sense, a minor miracle. As you look at the devastation .. created [Tuesday] night, it’s hard to imagine that that didn’t occur,” Blackburn said.
Now, carried by their faith, Benavidez hopes for another miracle as she waits for their family to recover.
“This is going to be a slow process for everyone,” Benavidez said.