Alabama family survives after EF-1 tornado destroys home

‘When I looked back up, I saw the sky,’ the homeowner said as the roof was ripped away
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 4:44 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2022 at 5:05 PM CST
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TALLASSEE, Ala. (WSFA) - An Elmore County family considers themselves lucky after surviving a tornado that destroyed their Tallassee home early Wednesday morning.

“All we could do was kind of hunker down,” explained resident Joe Mays. “I had my wife’s head underneath me. She had all the boys under her. And when I looked back up, I saw the sky.”

The storm, which the National Weather Service is now officially calling an EF-1 twister, ripped the roof off their home. Mays said an alert on his phone woke him up around 3 a.m.

“God kind of just told me ‘Hey, get all the way up. I looked at the WSFA app and I was keeping watch on them,” he explained.

Moments later, he and his family were taking cover in a hallway just as the storm hit.

Looking at what remains of their home, you would never think they would have been able to walk away without injuries, but the entire family did.

The Mays family of Tallassee survived what the NWS is calling an EF-1 tornado that destroyed...
The Mays family of Tallassee survived what the NWS is calling an EF-1 tornado that destroyed their home.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

“Everybody was okay,” Mays said, though he added that a “little bit of panic ensued.”

The family is now going through what’s left of their home, trying to salvage what they can while being thankful for what they didn’t lose.

“There’s been a great outpouring of support from our community,” Mays admitted. “I know we may not have been born here in Tallasee, but this is our home.”

The Tallassee Fire Department and Dreamcatchers Comics in Tallassee are both collecting donations for the Mays family for anyone who would like to donate.

The fire department provided a list of needed items, which can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fire Station 1.

“I had my wife’s head underneath me. She had all the boys under her. And when I looked back up, I saw the sky,” explained Tallassee resident Joe Mays.

Sizes are listed below for current needs.

  • Toiletry items
  • Boys: 7-8, 10-12, 12-14
  • Womens: 1X
  • Mens: 3X
  • Toiletry items
  • Shoe sizes:
  • Joe 12W - 13 men’s
  • Ashley womens 9
  • Mens 6
  • Boys youth 3
  • Boys youth 1
  • Pants sizes:
  • Joe 40 x 30 or 42 x 30
  • Ashley 14
  • Andrew boys youth 12
  • Abel boys youth 10
  • Seamus boys 8

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