Texas Granny Won Tug-of-War With Tornado Over Grandson

PHOTO: A Texas grandmother explains how she piled three children into a bathtub and hung on to a toddlers feet as the twister tried to suck the boy into its vortex.PlayABC News
WATCH Grandmother Saves Boy in Tornado

A Texas grandmother explained today how she piled three children into a bathtub to survive a rampaging tornado and hung on to a toddler's feet as the twister tried to suck the boy into its vortex.

When the nightmare was over the house where Sherry Enochs was holed up was little more than "wood and debris piled up," she and three children she was babysitting were covered in mud and Enochs had a nail speared into her foot, but they were alive.

Enochs' story is one of the more remarkable ones to come out of the Texas tornadoes that triggered remarkable destruction, but caused no deaths.

Enochs was babysitting her 18-month-old grandson Lane, Abigail Jones, 19 months, and another child when she spotted a monster tornado headed towards the home of her daughter Lindsey in the town of Forney.

"I didn't have very long. I was looking out my bedroom window and I saw it coming across the fields and I was on the phone with my daughter and she told me, 'Mom, you probably need to go take cover,'" Enochs told ABC News.

"So I grabbed them up with a comforter and got them in the bathtub and just sat in there until it got over."

"There was a gush of wind come through and I just feel like it was taking him and I just grabbed him harder just to keep him there with me. It was really hard," Enochs said.

She described hanging on to Lane's feet in a tug of war with an enraged Mother Nature until she was finally able to pull him back into the tub.

"She held on to his feet, just by his feet," Lindsey Enochs told ABC News. "And the wind kept taking him, but she held on to him. And he's fine. He's here."

Enochs said the children were "pretty quiet" during the storm. "I was kind of worried about Lane because he was not saying anything and I had said his name and he looked up at me and I knew he was okay and the other kids were fine," she said.

When it was over, "The little girl was covered in mud and Lane had the mud up his nose and in his face. I don't know how that happened."

Lindsey Enochs rushed home after the tornado passed and when she saw her home, the fourth building on the block, she feared the worst.

"I started counting houses. I counted the first house, it was standing. The second house was standing, the third house was standing. And then I got to our fourth house and it was not standing. There was nothing there, just wood and debris piled up," Lindsey Enochs said.

"I don't see how they made it out at all," she said. "Then there was just so much joy when I found out that they were okay. I just couldn't believe it. It was a miracle."

Forney was one of the towns hit hardest by Tuesday's twisters and are cleaning up along with Lancaster and other areas. About 650 homes were damaged in Tuesday's Texas tornado outbreak.

The warnings of severe weather have moved on with parts of the southern Plains, western Ozarks and lower Mississippi Valley at risk this week.

The National Weather Service has predicted chances of severe thunderstorms across parts of the mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys today, which might include large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes. Parts of the southeastern United States might also experience severe weather, according to the weather service.

A severe-storm warning was given for New Orleans overnight as more rain moved in and flooding began on some city streets, with reports of 2 to 3 feet of water on roads. A possible tornado touched down in Gentilly, La., early today, while a roof was blown off a house.

Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May, while in the northern U.S. states storms rattle regions from late spring through early summer. April is typically the worst period for the South, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop.

As a tornado ripped through the operating facility for Schneider National, a trucking company, it tossed 30,000-pound trucks high into the air, spinning them around before smashing them to the ground hundreds of yards away. Flattened and crumpled trailers littered the area in the aftermath of the twister.

Robert Cluck, the mayor of Arlington, Texas, declared a state of emergency to last for up to seven days, citing "widespread and severe damage."

The city also set up a disaster center. A disaster area was also declared by local officials in Lancaster, Texas, where about 300 homes were damaged.

"I guess shock is probably a good word," Lancaster Mayor Marcus Knight said Tuesday.

American Airlines canceled more than 450 arriving and departing flights at its hub, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, by Tuesday afternoon. Airport spokesman David Magaña told WFAA that more than 110 planes were damaged by hail.