Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Mother's instinct saves lives of 3 sons as tornado approached home

    Just Watched

    Mom speeds away from a tornado

Mom speeds away from a tornado 03:00

Story highlights

  • Terimy Miller puts her three small sons in the house closet as the tornado nears
  • But she gets a feeling: "I just got to get out of here. I'm not chancing this."
  • The mother drives her boys away from the house in Moore, Oklahoma
  • The home's eventual obliteration confirms she made the right decision

Call it maternal instinct.

As the monster tornado approached, Terimy Miller put her three sons in a closet in their Moore, Oklahoma, house.

But something didn't feel right.

"It was just that feeling," Miller told CNN's Brooke Baldwin on Wednesday. "I just got to get out of here. I'm not chancing this."

So she put her three boys -- ages 11, 7 and 6 -- in the family car.

    Just Watched

    Husband ripped away from wife in tornado

Husband ripped away from wife in tornado 03:07

    Just Watched

    Comfort dogs help with healing

Comfort dogs help with healing 06:34

She was moving so fast that she couldn't round up the two family dogs, which were somewhere outside.

    Doctor's quick thinking save patients

    As they prepared their escape, she and son Jules heard a local weatherman on television advise families in Moore that if they didn't have a storm shelter, they should abandon the house.

    "We got away from the storm," said son Jules, 7.

    Confirmation of the mother's intuition came when she and her boys returned to the house.

    Miller hyperventilated. She cried.

    Opinion: Helping kids recover and feel safe

    The tornado had annihilated the home.

    "We walk up and it's gone," Miller said. "I'm like, no, this can't be happening. Why?

    "It's a war zone," she said.

    Added her son: "The thunderstorm took away all my favorite stuff. It's gone."

    Families remember Oklahoma tornado victims

    Miller lost the sentimental photos, yearbooks, and mementos from her days in the Navy. Her memories will now have to suffice, she said.

    As for the dogs, they survived, but one of them will lose his right eye, injured by the twister.

    Despite the material losses, Miller counts her blessings.

    "We're lucky: I have my children and everything will be OK," she said.

    The family will rebuild the home, she added.

    Storm-scattered mementos finding their homes via Facebook