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‘I just hung on,’ Fayette County resident describes tornado that moved through Lavista

LAVISTA, W.Va. — The little Fayette County community of Lavista looks nothing like it did just before a tornado tore through it late Tuesday afternoon.

Lifelong Lavista resident Lisa Carte tells MetroNews there was a warning on her phone at around 4:30 p.m., she heard her adult son, who lives next door, scream, and then the tornado arrived.

She had intended to get to her son’s basement but she didn’t make it.

“The warning went off, he looked up and he seen it coming. So they grabbed their kids and went to the basement but by the time I got to my front door I could hear the train sound. So I couldn’t get any further than my doorway and just hang on,” Carte said.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Simone Lewis said from photos the weather service has viewed it appears it was a tornado. An official storm team is due on the scene Thursday.

Carte has no doubt.

“The porch got ripped off. The neighbors’ porches got ripped off. My back porch got ripped off. It was just chaos,” Carte said.

The sound of a train coming is true, she said.

“It was just shaking like an earthquake and that sound is a sound you will never forget, never,” Carte said.

Lavista is located along U.S. Route 60 a few miles east of U.S. Route 19. It isn’t far from the community of Hico and close to the communities of Nuttall and Lookout.

“We live in kind of like a little valley. We have two humps. It’s a little valley you go through and it soared right through the middle of it,” Carte said.

A convenience store along the highway was destroyed. Carte’s brother, who is the Nuttall fire chief, saw his home picked up off its foundation and set back down.

Carte said there were only three minor injuries. She’s not sure how no one was seriously injured or killed.

“Today when you go through the neighborhood and look you say, ‘How did we survive this? How did we survive this?’ It is just unreal, just unreal,” she said.

Lavista is like a lot of other small West Virginia communities where everybody knows everybody and Carte said none of them are interested in living anywhere else.

“We rebuld. It’s home. We just rebuild it’s home,” she said choking back tears. “We’ve banded together and we are just going to take care of each other and hang in here, we’re family, and even the ones of us who aren’t blood family we’re still family.”

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