Charlotte area remembers one-year anniversary of EF2 tornado
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CHARLOTTE -- It has been one year since an EF2 tornado ripped through a Charlotte subdivision.
Hundreds of homes were damaged across Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties that day.
One family said they feel lucky to be alive and have changed their ways when it comes to preparing for severe weather.
Small pieces of glass can still be found in Alfred and Alicia Watson's backyard.
"What we had planned and what we had put into it was all gone in a matter of moments," said Alfred Watson.
The Watsons' home was one of dozens in the Reedy Creek subdivision torn apart by an EF2 tornado on March 3, 2012.
Alicia Watson said it was a terrifying night they will never forget.
"It sounded like a train, a train coming through our house. Lots of wind, lots of glass everywhere. It tore out our garage, tore out the back part of our home," she said.
"It was breathtaking because the whole house just started rumbling, and you could feel the vibrations in your bed," said Alfred Watson.
Extensive damage was left behind, and the Watson's said it took months to rebuild the neighborhood.
"It's just amazing to see the power that a tornado has," said Watson.
Today, it's a much different scene on the streets of Reedy Creek. But those affected said they are forever changed by the experience.
"One thing we've learned is to have our emergency kit ready. That was one thing that we didn't have initially! Flash lights, our emergency kits, our paperwork in one centralized location and be able to get out of the house,” said Watson.
The Watsons are thankful that no one in their family was hurt and are comforted by knowing they are as prepared as they can be, moving forward.
But they said today their mission is simple -- to spread the message that it can happen to anyone at any time.
The 2012 tornado left three people injured and more than 200 homes damaged.