Tornado victims still healing seven years after disaster struck
JULIETTE, Ga -- Georgia is on the brink of tornado season, a particularly hard time for the Landers family. In 2011 the Landers lost their home in the middle of the night now seven years later, they have rebuilt their home, but the emotional scars are still there.
The National Weather Service said the tornado hit the Landers' front door at 135 miles per hour that night in 2011. Chris Landers said he walked into the hall to get his daughter and the house disappeared.
"To me it almost sounded like an explosion, that's the best way to describe it," Chris said.
Cristi Landers felt the world spin, and when she stood up her world looked completely different.
"I don't see my house," Cristi said. "I don't see my husband, my kid... and I start yelling for them."
Cristi's immediate thoughts were for her daughter Logan whose room was supposed to be right down the hall. Her son Landon was at his father's house that night.
"Did it take her? Where is she? And that was the worst feeling ever, not knowing where my child was," Cristi said.
Cristi said it was probably minutes but it felt like a lifetime before they heard her screaming dozens of yards away from where the house once stood.
"We were barefooted, nothing on our feet," Cristi said. "We were in shock so we were running across debris trying to get to her."
Logan Landers was eight-years-old at the time, now the 15-year-old attends Mary Persons High School.
"I remember going to bed that night and then waking up a couple days later in a hospital," Logan said.
She said even though seven years have passed the spring-time is still hard for her.
"Yeah, that's normally when I pray a lot," Logan said. "Especially because I get left home alone when they go to work. I'll call her and be like, 'Mom, what's the weather going to do today?'"
Cristi has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since the tornado took their home.
"And when the weather comes about, and days like this, I'm just constantly looking at the sky to see if there's anything abnormal," Cristi said.
Chris said while his house may be rebuilt, his family is still healing, and they do what they can to be more proactive.
"We're more vigilant now, or more acutely aware of what the weather's doing now," Chris said.
Chris said he learned that night how important it is to pay attention to what's going on with the weather.