Rockhampton man’s tornado terror in Oklahoma City
HUDDLED in an Oklahoma City university library, Amon Broadhurst hoped for the best.
The 18-year-old, living in the US on a soccer scholarship, was caught up in a vicious tornado which tore through Oklahoma City and Tulsa in the US yesterday, killing one person.
Growing up in Rockhampton, Amon said he was used to extreme weather, but nothing could have prepared him for what he experienced.
"It was a pretty scary experience. I'm quite used to extreme weather, floods, cyclones, extreme heat. But this was unreal," Amon said.
"The weather stations had predicted possible tornados and the university I attend (Southwestern Christian University) sent out emails to all their students continuously throughout the afternoon warning them about the coming storm."
Amon said he and one of his US roommates, Bryan Harger, were walking to the university when the tornado hit.
"Around 6.20pm I went for a walk with Bryan to On Cue (a petrol station) that's just up the road from my university," he said.
"I stopped and took a few photos in the rain of the storm. The sky in front of me was covered in enormous black storm clouds but behind me was clear blue sky.
"When we went to come back from the petrol station at 6.30pm the storm hit and we had to sprint back to campus getting smashed with heavy wind and hail from the size of a dollar coin to the size of a golf ball.
"I remember having to put my hands over my face and head so I didn't get cut open from the hail.
"I just couldn't believe how quickly the storm came over.
"I knew we would make it back to campus but there was a moment when we were coming back we had just crossed the road and we went from jogging and making jokes about the storm to sprinting and Bryan said to me 'we need to get out of this storm now'."
Amon said when they reached the campus the entire university was evacuated to the tornado bunker.
"We just got back to campus before things got really bad and everyone on campus was told to move to the library because it was our tornado bunker."
He described people running up and down the dorms telling everyone to head to the library because there was a tornado coming.
"We all packed into the library and were instructed to move to the far side of the building because that was the most underground point. 45 minutes later the storm had passed.
"I didn't really know what to expect because this was the first time I'd experienced this kind of weather, so we tried to keep ourselves occupied while we were waiting it out.
"I walked outside and the first thing I saw was massive cracks of lightning brightening the sky.
"Once I got back to my room I put the news station on and they covered the storms movement throughout the rest of Oklahoma City for three hours straight with no ad breaks, which I found unbelievable."
Following reports one life was lost in the storm, Amon said he was grateful he made it to safety in time.