Tornado ripped through parts of Bulloch, Effingham Co. one year ago

BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) - One year ago, a tornado slammed through parts of Bulloch and Effingham counties before daylight.

It left victims injured and homes damaged and destroyed.

Talk to folks who lived through it and they'll tell you that in some ways, it seems like an eternity ago, and in other ways, they can see it and feel it like it was yesterday.

Keith Egan still can't believe his whole family hid in a closet under their staircase. His WTOC Weather App alerted him to the storm. He saw it and heard it just before they hid.

"It was the most awful, eeriest, humming, rumbling roar. I knew right then when I heard it," Egan said.

It passed in less than a minute, but the damage was almost immeasurable.

"It was just devastation everywhere," Egan said. "Trees down, vehicles destroyed, parts of the house gone, parts lifted off..."

Sgt. Tracy Miller rushed to a home near his own neighborhood to rescue a woman and her grown son from their mobile home after it rolled off its blocks and down a hill.

"I saw behind there...just a mess, a tangled mess. You couldn't even tell it was a home," Sgt. Miller said.

Like others, they've put new homes in the same spots. Egan says it took months to rebuild their home. Meanwhile, everyone searched the debris for pieces of their lives.

"We helped them search for their stuff. They helped us search for ours. Some things we never found," Egan said. "It took us a good four months to get back into our house, and another four or so to get the outside the way we want it. Some of our neighbors, they're still not back in their home."

"This part of the county, just about everybody knows everybody, and when someone's down, they try to help them out," Sgt. Miller said.

Clearing away trees and debris came far more easily than clearing the storm from their minds.

When we asked Egan how often it comes to his mind, he replied, 'Every time it rains."

It's likely something they'll never forget.

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