For the residents of Bon Secour, Alabama, last weekend was one they’ll never forget. While neighborhoods around the world were celebrating Halloween weekend, Baldwin County residents were forced to contend with an EF-1 tornado.
The tornado and accompanying severe weather left a path of devastation in their wake, downing trees and power lines, and leaving approximately 4,000 residents without power. At least one resident is now homeless as a result of the raging tempest.
A single mother and her son experienced what will likely be among the most terrifying experiences of their lives when the tornado ripped through their neighborhood, tearing their mobile home to shreds with them inside.
The vicious storm flipped the mobile home before sending a boat soaring into the wall, leaving their family home in ruins. When it was all said and done, both mother and son were hospitalized. Both received stitches and the mother, Joann Valinsky, was found to have several broken ribs.
News outlets on the scene were initially uncertain of the source of the destruction. Was it a tornado or simply a particularly destructive thunderstorm? However, the National Weather Service later confirmed that it was indeed a tornado, touching down just before 7:00 p.m. on Saturday (October 29).
Alabama Resident Recalls Horrifying Tornado
In a subsequent interview with NBC 15, the brave Alabama residents recounted their terrifying ordeal. “By the time I went to go to my son so we could be in the same room, it had already blown us everywhere,” Joann Valinsky said.
Mark Mund, the Valinsky family’s friend and neighbor, left his home to assess the tornado’s damage. When he saw the Valinsky home, he was stunned by the unbelievable damage. “We walked out here and noticed the trailer was completely gone,” Mund recalled. “So Joann and Bobby lost everything.”
Both mother and son are obviously devastated to have lost their home. However, as they were both inside when the mobile home caught air and was hit by a flying boat, they also consider themselves lucky to be alive. “It felt like a train, it felt like we were twirling. It felt like a train just vibrating through the whole house,” the mother and son agreed.
“The vibrations and then we heard the hit and then the power was still on when we flipped the first time … We just rolled and rolled and rolled,” Joann said.
In pain and in need of help, Joann Valinksy turned on her car’s emergency lights as a makeshift distress signal. Unfortunately, however, first responders were too far away to see them, forcing the family to venture away from the ruins.
“We put the flashes on in the car … No response,” Valinsky explained. “So, we turned them off, and then I said we’ll put them back on as a flare gun. We put it on the second time but still, no one came. So we walked to the mailbox where we saw firetrucks. When they saw us, they were more shocked to see us walking in the dark through all of this.”