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Tulsa teen remembers being swept up in tornado one year later

Posted: 4:01 AM, Aug 07, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-07 05:01:34-04

TULSA — A Tulsa teen says she is lucky to be alive one year after the devastating tornado ripped through midtown.

Sydney Verner said, “It was probably the scariest moment of my life.”

Verner and her friend were eating at a Whataburger near 41st and I-44 when they suddenly found themselves in the middle of a tornado.

She said, “All of a sudden, we look out and the rain is kind of going horizontal. The lights flickered on and off. The door flew open. And then it was there.”

Verner said it only lasted a few seconds. She was sitting by a window when it suddenly shattered. The teen jumped on the ground as her friend leapt to cover her.

“When I jumped, it was so wet and windy, that I was kind of sliding. It was almost like I had no control over myself, so she jumped over me,” Verner said.

It was a heroic act that Verner says possibly saved her life. A metal rod punctured her in the back. The teen explained, “One centimeter to the left, it could’ve tore through organs – major organs that would’ve killed me. And a centimeter to the right, it would’ve went straight through my spine.”

She recovered within a few months. And while it is easy for Verner to talk about the tornado one year later, she tearfully looks down at the scars on her leg, saying, “I have a bunch of scars from the debris. I have scars all the way down.”

And the pain is not just physical. Verner says she gets into a panic during the slightest change in weather. 

Now, the 19-year-old is a sophomore at OSU studying human development and family science. She says although she has moved on with her life, what happened at that Whatagurber one year ago has made her appreciate that life more and more each day.

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