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Tornado survivors watch storm hurl horse safely across yard

11:26 PM, Mar 1, 2012   |    comments
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Bunny Howe heard the tornado warnings Wednesday on a local radio station and immediately took her grandchildren and pets to an interior room of the house.

Then Howe went to the front door to watch for her husband and son who were set to arrive any minute.  The EF-2 magnitude tornado arrived first.

"I was calling my husband and telling them to stay away.  [The tornado] was coming towards me.  I watched it pick up my black horse and set him down right here [50 yards away].  Then it picked up our semi-truck and picked up some of the other trailers and tossed them around," said Howe.

The tornado shredded Howe's garage while she took cover with her grandchildren.

"I dove on top of my babies in the bathroom and held the door shut," said Howe.  "God wrapped his hands around me them.  I said to my babies, 'Let's just pray.'  We said 'Dear Lord, savior please help us.' His hands covered us."

When the twister diminished, Howe emerged to see much of her property demolished.  Among the damage was a garage that contained a drag-racing car and several other classic automobiles.  This family that strives for speed in race cars ultimately benefited from a vehicular delay.

"We missed the storm by five minutes," said Doug Howe, Bunny's son.  "My dad and I were stuck in traffic on the interstate.  It was really scary.  We were on the phone trying to calm Mom down and then when we got home it was just devastation.  You see this kind of thing on television but you can't really believe it until you see it with your own eyes."

Bunny Howe said her family and her horse survived the brunt of the storm by the grace of God. 

"My horse's name is Diablo, 'the devil,'" laughed Howe.  "[The tornado] picked him up and set him down like he was in its hand.  He was dazed, he didn't know what to do, and then he took off.  Then the other horse went running after him.  It took me a while to get them back, but they are both fine.  You can see the hoof prints in the ground where the tornado dropped the horse and he landed."

Many members of the racing community have come to the aid of the Howe family.  Now they shift from the fear of a deadly storm to navigating a road to recovery.

"We are blessed. We are blessed because we are alive.  A lot of people didn't live through this," said Howe.

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