Serious structure damage from severe weather overnight

Posted at 6:55 AM, Apr 01, 2023

Overnight tornadoes touched down across the state and some areas saw significant damage.

Janice Pieterick and her husband Donald Lepczyk spent Saturday morning taking in the destruction of their family's property on James Whitehead Road in Hohenwald after a tornado tore through Lewis County overnight. 

"The first thing he did when he looked out...he just said babe don't even look. Just don't even look,'" said Janice.

They said they were in their RV when they got the alert. They rushed across the yard to take cover in Janice's daughter's home with her and her two grandchildren. Minutes later, the tornado hit.

"We made her and the kids get into the bathtub because that's supposed to be the safest place. And we just all hunkered down because all the doors blew out. Double doors in the front, double doors in the back, all the glass in the windows. It all blew out at once," said Janice.

For a moment, they did not think they would make it.

"The wind started picking up and picking up. You could feel it," said Donald.

"The whole house you can feel it shaking. You can literally feel it moving. Lifting up. That's when we thought we were going too," said Janice.

The couple teared up thinking about how scared and worried they were for their 13 year old and almost 2 year old grandchildren. Nonetheless, they said they are so grateful to be standing in the aftermath. The children and their mom went to stay with a friend to get some rest while Janice and Donald watched the house.

"Like I said everybody is alive. That's the main thing," said Janice.

"It could have been a whole lot worse. That's for sure," said Donald.

Other homes nearby faced damage too, but thankfully the county reported no injuries. Debris removal started as soon as the storm ended and continued through the day. Neighbors have been checking on each other and doing what they can to help with the clean up.