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Dawson Springs woman recounts how she and her pets survived deadly tornado

Addie Weaver was home alone when a deadly EF-4 tornado struck her neighborhood late Friday night.

DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. — Addie Weaver was home alone Friday night -- her husband, a firefighter, was on duty about 20 miles away when a massive twister struck her neighborhood in Dawson Springs, Ky.

"I like to cut up and make jokes," Weaver said. "Because like I said, I'm either going to laugh or I'm going to cry."

Weaver was with her pets in a closet in the middle room of her house. She said she screamed the entire time the tornado was on top of them.

"I've got 7 dogs, a cat and a rabbit. So, I protected my babies the best I knew how," she said.

Weaver and all of her animals survived the destruction, but her home couldn't withstand the tornado's winds -- its roof torn off.

The National Weather Service now believes that tornado was an EF-4, with an estimated peak wind speed of 190 mph.

Likely to become the longest track tornado on record, the twister traveled at least 275 miles and devastated much of Dawson Springs.

Weaver said with rain pouring above her, she crawled through the debris and darkness -- eventually finding a shining light.

"My neighbors across the street were walking down the road with flashlights," she said. "I started banging on the window, you know, 'Help me, help me I'm stuck!' And they got me out of my house."

Days later, Weaver returned to walk WHAS11 News reporters through what was left of her home.

"I had a big barn, all gone, splattered across Walnut Street," Weaver said. "I got my wedding dress back, my veil was in a tree."

Governor Andy Beshear said on Thursday that 75 people have died due to the deadly tornado outbreak. Weaver said she knows just how fortunate she is.

"So many people had it worse than I did, I'm just very grateful," she said. "If I was a hundred yards to the left and a second later, I wouldn't be here."

On Wednesday, a group of firefighters from Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania surprised Weaver with a visit, offering to tarp her roof.

"They won't take anything from me," she said. "Food, money, whatever I have, they won't take anything from me!"

Weaver said she's appreciative of all the help she and her community have received in the aftermath of the storm.

"You think there's no good people left in the world, but they're right here," she said. "It's not something I will ever forget in my lifetime.

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