Hazelwood tornado victims recall hardships, are better prepared

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HAZELWOOD, MO (KTVI) - Memories of last year's Hazelwood tornado remain fresh for many families caught in the path of the April 10th storm.  Now that there are predictions of another round of powerful weather Sunday, residents are brushing up on their tornado emergency plans.

The 2013 tornado destroyed several homes on Lynnhaven and left the Teson Garden Apartments uninhabitable.   Nicole Clark and her seven year old daughter Ayaina were in their second floor apartment when the storm ripped off the roof.  Clark lay on top of her child to protect her.  Neither was injured.

On Saturday, Clark said she is better prepared with storm notifications on her phone and a plan to head to the basement or the bathroom if another tornado approaches.

As she looks back over the past year she said, "It was a scary time in my life, but we feel very blessed to be where we are right now."

But with the possibility of another severe storm Sunday, Clark is planning to be in somebody's basement.

Kenny Davis and his family survived the intense storm in the basement of their home.  He's confident the neighborhood is safe.

"I got a tee time for ten o'clock tomorrow," he said with a smile.

His neighbors Greg and Angie Smith faced a good deal of repair work when the tree on their front lawn fell on the house.

"It took most of a year to get all of it done.  We just now got our stump ground out yesterday so hopefully by this time next year we'll actually have a lawn," Greg Smith said noting it was a long, painful process.

Angie Smith grew up in Hazelwood never thinking of it as a town susceptible to tornados.

"Florissant and those areas would get hit," she said adding when the tornado struck her neighborhood "reality sets in that it could hit anywhere.  It kind of wakes you up."

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