Two Western New Yorkers are among the thousands reeling from Monday's devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. YNN's Meg Rossman has their reactions and why one resident says he's one of the lucky ones.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Hamburg native Tim Schumer was one of the lucky ones Monday, miles away from a devastating tornado, headed right for his home.
"I called my roommate who's from Pittsburgh, and I don't think I'll forget this but she said to me ‘Tim, is today the day I die?'"
Schumer’s roommate managed to escape their Moore, Oklahoma home just seconds before an EF-5 tornado with winds of up to 200 miles per hour hit, killing dozens.
"The entire plaza where I do most of my shopping is unrecognizable,” Schumer said. “The gas station I go to is gone."
Monday's tornado was a first for Schumer, who moved to Moore nine months ago, but it's a common occurrence in an area of the country known as 'Tornado Alley.’
"We have great news channels that prepare us for this and also have houses and facilities built for things like this," Bethany, Oklahoma native Tyler Spear explained.
The Niagara University senior lives 15 miles from the devastation in Moore and explained that parts of the town were still rebuilding from a record-breaking tornado in 1999, because of that he said residents are taught how to prepare from a young age.
"At schools, there are literally, about every month or so tornado drills."
And as first responders continue to look for survivors, including students at an elementary school directly in the tornado's path, Schumer whose home was spared said that much of what remains looks like a war zone with thousands in need of help.
"I went back to my house and it's difficult. You have to weave your way through the roads,” he said. “How do you not feel guilt when your house is fine and your neighbor's is gone? It's mind numbing."