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“It happened in an instant:” Officials assess damage, offer tips on tornado preparedness

RICHFIELD (CBS 58) – Residents ran to the basement when strong gusts of wind ripped through their neighborhood Wednesday evening knocking down trees and causing structural damage.

Some heard the sirens and other got the cellphone alerts notifying them about the tornado warning. 

But as soon as Nadine Duchateau got the notice she realized it was close by.  

“It just kept coming towards us and I think to me it’s not normal for a rain cloud to have a rumble like an engine,” said Duchateau.   

Her home surveillance shows how strong gusts were. According to the National Weather Service, winds were as high as 80 miles an hour.

Duchateau hid in the basement with her kids for about a minute. Outside, her neighbors' trees were bent and knocked over.

On Thursday, the NWS and the Washington County Emergency Management was out assessing the damage. 

“We are thankful that it only caused damage to mostly trees," said Rob Schmid, Washington County Emergency Management Coordinator.

He said the county works to be prepared and tested the warning systems about a month ago. 

“Try to have numerous way to get the warnings. Cellphones are good, don’t rely on the sirens. Rural part of the county don’t have sirens," said Schmid. 

Duchateau said she's thankful her neighbor spotted the tornado and called it in. 

“Fortunately we had a spotter in the area otherwise I don’t think we would have any recognition of the alarm going on or a tornado in the area," said Duchateau. 

To keep up with alerts from the National Weather Service, officials recommend downloading the FEMA Mobil App.

To keep up with local weather alerts, click here to download the CBS 58 Read Weather App.

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