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'It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life': Teen rides out tornado with younger siblings

A 16-year-old guided her two younger brothers into the basement of their home just before a violent tornado hit their house.

YUMA, Colo. — Several tornadoes were reported in Yuma County on Tuesday night.

One of them hit a property just south of town with a direct hit. A 16-year-old girl was home alone with her two younger brothers, age 11 and 12. 

She said her parents called to tell her the tornado was headed straight for the house, and she needed to get to basement.

“So my first thought was how can I protect them," said Kennedy Monk. "So, we all just huddled together and held hands. We had our dog on our lap and just in this tight space together.”

She said the three of them put their motor bike helmets on and rode the tornado out underneath the basement stairway. After a series of loud explosions, she said the water started pouring into the basement. 

According to the National Weather Service, investigators have determined the tornado that hit Yuma was an EF-3.

The strength of it was enough to rip off part of the roof off the house. 

“It was insane because one moment the house was there, and then you come upstairs and you can see the sky in your living room and everything is demolished," said Kennedy. "It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Her parents were at the hospital in Wray visiting grandma who had just had knee surgery. Kennedy's father Clint said he was watching a live video feed from storm chaser Reed Timmer when he recognized a few landmarks in the video that indicated that the large tornado was headed right for his home.

Credit: 9NEWS
Kennedy Monk's house in Yuma

"I want to thank Reed Timmer," he said. "That kind of saved my kids life because otherwise we wouldn't have known it was that serious and detrimental coming towards our house. He did a great job covering the tornado."

He described the moment he made it back to the house as a shock to see the extent of damage but complete elation as he was reunited with his three kids safe and sound. 

“I saw my kids in the pickup, and I was just so happy that my kids were okay," he said. "It was pretty terrifying. It was the experience of a lifetime.”

The Monks' home and two outbuildings were a total loss, and the family also believes their only source of income, their corn crop will be a complete loss.


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