Sienna Plantation family recalls tornado damaging home during Harvey

By Leigh Frillici - Reporter

SIENNA PLANTATION, Texas - When a tornado ripped through Sienna Plantation on Aug. 26, 2017, at 1 a.m., it tore through the sound barrier wall by the train tracks near the Rays family's home on Kelsey Pass.

Their home was next in the tornado’s path.

“It sounded like that train we are always hearing, except that train was coming right at our headboard,” said Monica Diaz Ray.

Diaz Ray and her husband, Monty, were in bed. They started running.

The tornado ripped a gaping hole through the wall above the head of their bed.

“There was probably only a margin of seconds of us making it out of the room unhurt, or it could have been a very different outcome,” said Monty Diaz Ray.

They now have souvenirs from that time.

They keep a piece of the sound barrier wall that they found in their home inside a plastic bag.

“Our yard and the inside of our home is full of this stuff,” said Monty Diaz Ray.

Then there’s the square piece of their drywall with a brick shard imbedded in it that they saved.

“I saved it because had it been a foot over, it could have gone into the back of my skull,” said Monica Diaz Ray.

Now, their bedroom has been repaired.

Their foyer, which had been covered with pink insulation after their ceiling fell in, is fixed too.

At the time, the damage was overwhelming.

The Rays had just moved in two months before.

Neighbors they did not know pulled them through the initial cleanup.

“I don't know what I would've done if all those folks had not shown up that morning,” said Monty Diaz Ray.

Extensive repairs took parts of their home down to the studs.

By the new year, it was mostly done, and a kitten caught their eye.

“I thought, 'She needs a home and we need something to signify that we're starting over, a new life,'” said Monica Diaz Ray.

They adopted the kitten and called her Nebula, but she could have just as easily been called Hope.

According to the National Weather Service, the Sienna Plantation tornado was an EF1 tornado. It was one of 23 tornadoes that were unleashed during Hurricane Harvey.

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