Tornado survivor describes seeking shelter in storm culvert - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tornado survivor describes seeking shelter in storm culvert

Rebecca Sykes (Source: WALB) Rebecca Sykes (Source: WALB)
Sykes' home was damaged after the tornado (Source: WALB) Sykes' home was damaged after the tornado (Source: WALB)
The January 22 tornado damaged Kitty's Flea Market (Source: WALB) The January 22 tornado damaged Kitty's Flea Market (Source: WALB)
Sykes and her family took cover in a storm culvert (Source: WALB) Sykes and her family took cover in a storm culvert (Source: WALB)
DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -

For the vendors who spent their weekends at Kitty's Flea Market trying to make a living, the January tornado definitely put a halt to their jobs. 

But for one woman, the tornado didn't just affect her livelihood.

Her home and her family were impacted too.

Rebecca Sykes lives in front of Kitty's Flea Market in a mobile home. 

She said her daughter saw the tornado coming right toward them, and with nowhere sturdy to take cover, Sykes and her family ran to a storm culvert nearby. 

"I've learned to keep my eye on the sky," said Sykes. "When the wind starts picking up, and they're coming from all sorts of directions, and the treetops are swirling, you need to find cover and find it fast. Because those mobile homes, they don't last. They'll go up in a heartbeat. Right in there is the culvert that we went into. We didn't think anything about the power poles. We just ran for the only cover we knew at the time. It saved me, my kids, my animals. Everything."

Sykes and her family survived without a scratch but she can't say the same for her home and her job.

She was out of a job until the flea market re-opened in February. 

And just six months later, a tree came crashing down on her mobile home, which has now forced her and her family to find a new place to live. 

Sykes said, like many other tornado survivors, the hardships didn't end after the tornado left our region. 

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.

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