To paraphrase an age-old biblical proverb: They nearly reaped the whirlwind.
A couple feels “blessed to be alive” after they were forced to flee their RV and dive into a ditch to escape a rampaging tornado in Texas. Harrowing footage of them narrowly avoiding the vortex of doom is currently swirling up thousands of views and likes online.
“We feel blessed to be alive and to have our tiny home on wheels intact,” said Zachary Peck-Chapman, 34, of the “Wizard of Oz”-esque incident, which occurred Tuesday after a tornado touched down in the Country Livin’ RV park in Orange, Texas.
The National Weather Service had issued an tornado warning, informing residents that the situation was “life threatening” and implored them to “seek shelter now!”
Peck-Chapman — who was traveling from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina — told Storyful why he and his unnamed partner decided to stay put: “We knew there was a warning in the surrounding area, but we didn’t feel it was safe to drive out in the weather.”
That’s when the whirling dervish of death arrived on their doorstep, creating what the Texan deemed “the scariest moment of our life.” The tornado made landfall “a few hundred feet from the van,” Peck-Champman wrote on Twitter. “With no shelter nearby, we headed for the ditch.”
The resulting footage, filmed by Peck-Chapman, starts off with a panorama of the apocalyptic-looking scene with a derelict RV park getting pounded by gale-force wind and rain. It then cuts to the Texan and his partner fleeing the RV with their two dogs, before leaping in a water-filled drainage ditch to avoid being sucked up a la “Twister.”
Thankfully, Peck-Chapman said there was “only minor damage at the RV park, and the [park’s] owners were out immediately to help move campers back on their blocks and reassure everyone that things would be OK!”
“God was surely working in our favor tonight,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet.
This harrowing saga came amid a powerful storm system that battered the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, spawning a tornado that felled utility poles and power lines, upended vehicles and ripped roofs off homes and businesses in communities east of Houston.
Footage from Houston ABC outlet KTRK showed several businesses suffered major damage, including the city’s animal shelter. Fences in the vicinity were toppled over and shingles and chunks of roofs were ripped from homes — but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
The American Red Cross said it was opening a shelter in the neighboring town of Pasadena, Texas, and officials in nearby Deer Park said the tornado did severe damage to a nursing home. Residents had to be taken away, but no one was hurt.
As emergency crews worked to restore power, Deer Park Mayor Jerry Mouton Jr. urged anyone who needed a place to stay to look outside his city.
“There is one aspect of me that’s amazed that no one got injured,” Mouton said. “We will deal with the property and recover and rebuild.”
— With Post wires