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Possible tornado ‘skipped over’ Worthing family

By Garrett Ammesmaki


Marlene Sweeter and her husband, Ken, were asleep with the window open when what sounded like a train came roaring by their brown two-story home. It was around 2 a.m. on Sunday, south of Worthing and Highway 18, and Ken went to close the window as rain poured in the dark of the morning. That’s when Marlene saw their white storage shed fly by.


“It was like ‘The Wizard of Oz’,” she said, “then (the shed) just smashed to the ground.”


The couple live too far from Worthing to hear any tornado sirens, and it wasn’t until afterward that their phones chimed with a tornado warning. When they were able to assess the damages around 5 a.m., Sweeter was left in disbelief.


Trees to the east of their house were snapped off at the top, and the artesian well to the west was spilling water like a fountain through the rubble of their utility storage building. Their 2010 Dodge Diesel and horse trailer were disconnected and tossed over onto the side. The only damage done to the house was the loss of some shingles.


“We were both like ‘what just happened?’,” she said. “It was like it skipped over us.”


According to the NWS, due to the last few days of severe weather, it will take some time to confirm whether a tornado touched down in the area.


As far as Sweeter is concerned, there’s nothing else it could have been. They have lived at the property for over 40 years and haven’t seen wind do the level of damage they experienced.


On top of that, the couple checked the news and saw various local outlets reporting on a tornado touching down south of Worthing, Sweeter said.


The property has seen one tornado, back in the 60s when Ken’s grandparents lived on the property and their garage was destroyed. But, just like back then, the house is still standing.


Sweeter has put some pails out to catch the water that’s leaking through the roof where they lost shingles, and the couple is bracing for more rain.


Due to Memorial Day, they must wait to assess the cost of damage and contact an insurance adjuster. Their first priority is to stop the well from spilling out water. But, overall, the couple is counting their blessings.


“The house is still standing,” Sweeter said. “We’re lucky we didn’t lose everything.”

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