Cameron Meadows residents weather Tuesday tornadoes


The Cameron Meadows neighborhood on the Indianapolis side of the Marion County-Hendricks County line took a direct hit from Tuesday's storm.

While there are only a handful of houses with major damage, nearly every house or yard had some type of damage. The neighbors who were home when the storm hit, say it was frightening.

Home video of a funnel and swirling dark skies shows what hit the Cameron Meadows neighborhood - 110 mph winds as part of what the National Weather Service estimates was an EF-1 tornado.

"It felt like the house was gonna come down. Yeah, it was crazy," said storm victim Terry Abbott.

It tore off roofs, uprooted trees, and blew out windows. Damage and debris littered the area, from a sudden, monster storm that frightened families in its path.

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"The warning come across, then the sirens started going off, so I started watching out the back window," Abbott said, "and I could see it starting to form and it wasn't two minutes later I started seeing debris everywhere. That's when I told her (my daughter) to go to the bathroom. Then we started getting pelted with debris and I headed into the bathroom for shelter, too."

"We watched the trees bend and we were like, 'Whoa.' We've never seen anything like this before," said neighbor Liz Canales, who rode out the storm with her children.

"The house shook and it was a loud boom and scared me really bad," added neighbor Cheryl Greenlee. "I thought my roof was going to cave in."

Emergency crews from all over the area - Hendricks County, Marion County and State Police - were here within minutes for door-to-door search and rescue.

Amazingly, no one was hurt.

No one.

"We are extremely lucky," said Wayne Township Fire Captain Mike Pruitt.

A half dozen families can't live in their homes right now. Some, suffered serious damage, with large holes in the roof and parts of their homes ripped away.

Teams from Indianapolis Code Enforcement inspected nearly 100 homes to make sure structures were safe. Repair crews are helping homeowners, too.

Even with the physical damage, it's the emotion felt during this storm that impacted families the most.

"My son started pacing between the kitchen and the living room and and I said, 'It's gonna be okay. We're going to be fine,' and he said, 'I'm praying momma'," Canales said. "So I just let him alone and he just kept praying for like five minutes. Then we went outside and saw (the damage) all down the street."

"I was just praying over my family that we won't get hit," said Canales' son, Mateo.

Thankfully, those prayers were answered.

Emergency crews believe one reason no one was hurt - early warnings, plus families doing the right thing by seeking shelter when sirens went off.

LuAnn Giebler was smoking more than she usually does after Tuesday's storms.

"I just...I'm just scared," she said as she put out one cigarette and lit another.

Her nerves are frayed.

"Just glad to be alive, that's the main thing," Giebler said.

Her home of two years, in the 1800 block of Southernwood Lane in the Cameron Meadows subdivision, is a shell of what it used to be.

"I just don't know what to do," she said.

Giebler rode out the storm with her boyfriend and her 14-year-old dog.

"We didn't have even time to react," said Giebler's live-in boyfriend, James Barnes. "You could hear the roof peeling off, debris flying, my grill flew probably 50 foot."

Once the storm was over, the shock set in.

"Someone came and knocked on our door and said, 'Your roof is gone'," Giebler said. "I'm like, 'Oh my God.' Then I freaked out."

And then she looked outside.

"I just couldn't believe it. I looked over and saw a neighbor's fence gone, these guys' fence gone, their roof's gone. It just happened so fast," she said.

Even after a second round of rain soaked the inside of her home, she's still thankful.

"God's watching me right now," she said.

Because no one has as much as a scratch.

"My dog's alive, I'm alive, he's alive," Giebler continued.

By the end of the day, tarps covered the huge hole in the roof.

"I mean, it could have been a lot worse than what it was, actually," Barnes said.

And reality started settling in.

"This was more scary than anything. It just happened so fast," Giebler said.

A storm that practically came out of the blue, left damage far deeper than any contractor can repair.

Giebler and her boyfriend do have homeowners insurance, so if the home can be repaired, it's covered.

There's still a lot to clean up and repair in the Cameron Meadows neighborhood. That task likely will last weeks.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross is helping those who don't have a place to stay.