Oklahoma twister stokes memories for Hurricane Charley victims
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
PUNTA GORDA, Fla - The images of destruction from Moore, OK are bringing back memories for Southwest Floridians who survived Hurricane Charley in 2004.
"Reminds me of what I've been through," says 21 year-old Punta Gorda resident, Jen McGuire who's quick to add, "I'm sure what they've been through is a lot worse."
The FGCU student was a tween when Charley slammed into her hometown 9 years ago.
"It was strange going through town and seeing everything destroyed," says McGuire.
As rough as Charley was on Punta Gorda, it wasn't nearly as deadly or destructive as the recent tornado in Oklahoma.
But there are aspects McGuire and other Charley survivors can relate to - fear of tornadoes and emerging to see so much destruction.
McGuire says the tornado threat meant she and the other kids in the house had to take cover.
"So my dad, my grandma and my aunt made sure that my three cousins and I were in the bathtub under a mattress the whole time - with our two dogs."
When severe weather hits - whether it's Oklahoma or Southwest Florida, many of us tend to remember the "before" or "aftermath" images.
But for surivors like Jen McGuire, it's mental images of the storm - as it hit - that linger.
"There was a point where we believed the tornado came very very close to us maybe even hit us." says McGuire.
"We heard the roof being torn apart."
"One of my cousins was screaming 'we're going to die, we're going to die. There goes grandma's room. We're going to die'" she explains.
"I feel like I grew up real quick in that moment."
Jen says she feels for the children in Moore, OK who will grow up with deeply traumatic memories.
When asked what advice she would give to storm survivors returning to their neighborhoods, she says it's important to keep perspective.
"Just appreciate what you have," says McGuire.
"There's a chance you could lose everything.":
"And if you do, as long as you still have the ones you love." she adds explaing that's what her family "was happy about."
"We were happy we just had each other."