By ALEX McRAE
Shannon Pasley claims she had never been afraid of the weather. Until now.
"After that tornado hit us last night," she said, "I'll be paying a little more attention. That's for sure."
Shannon, her mother-in-law, daughter and daughter's boyfriend were all at Pasley's 780 Hines Road home when a tornado struck the south Coweta residence at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
The home was severely damaged, but no one was hurt. Shannon is convinced it wasn't luck.
"Last week my husband came home one night and said a prayer asking God to put a hedge of protection around this house and our family," she said. "God was definitely watching over us."
Just before 8:30 p.m. Shannon, her daughter Brittany and Brittany's boyfriend, Ros, were at the residence watching TV reports of strong thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in the Coweta area.
As the weather worsened, Shannon's mother-in-law, who lives next door, came over to seek shelter in the Pasley basement in case a storm hit.
Pasley's husband, Ron, was at work at Delta. The couple's two sons, Avery and Justin, were at the family's cabin on Lake Wedowee, Ala. Daughter Brooklyn was not home.
"I'm glad they weren't all here, to tell the truth," Shannon said. "I would have been that much more worried."
Brittany and Ros were on the porch watching the rain and wind when they noticed a change.
"The sky turned green," Brittany said. "Then the rain got harder and we heard a roar and ran inside."
"It really did sound like a freight train," Ros said.
All four people were heading down the basement stairs when the tornado hit. The winds -- confirmed as a tornado by the National Weather Service -- destroyed the house's wraparound porches, damaged the roof, flooded parts of the residence and crushed the four-car garage filled with vehicles, equipment and several freezers packed with frozen vegetables from the family garden.
Shannon said the storm passed before everyone even made it down the stairs.
"It was over like that," she said. "But then we came upstairs and looked around and couldn't believe what we saw."
While the storm was building, Ron Pasley was at Delta watching weather reports and getting nervous.
"I knew it was looking bad," he said. "But it's always like that when storms come. Our phone service is spotty and the bad part was not knowing what was happening."
Pasley got the bad news minutes after the storm hit and raced home.
"I knew everybody was all right," he said. "But I couldn't get there fast enough. I was worried sick."
When Pasley made it home, the first concern was checking on sons Justin and Avery in Wedowee, where strong storms had also been reported. The two sons were contacted and they headed home immediately.
Friends and neighbors came by to help, and with a generator providing power, cleanup chores continued until 2:30 a.m. Thursday.
Thursday morning after the tornado, friends and family were busy offering help with the cleanup and other needs. Shannon Pasley owns Shannon's Furniture in Haralson and said customers had been calling all morning to offer condolences and help.
Ron Pasley said it was shocking to see the house destroyed, but said the important thing was that no one was hurt.
"You see something like this and you know it's a miracle," he said.