Kyra Johnson was driving her FedEx vehicle when an EF-3 tornado struck Paincourtville, Louisiana, on Feb. 23 (video below).
Johnson ran to Sagona's True Value Hardware store, but when she discovered the doors were locked, she hid behind a Coca-cola machine. The decision might have saved her life; seconds later, the tornado destroyed the store. "I don't even remember being scared. I didn't have time. It was survival mode. That Coke machine fell. I had nothing to block me. [God] told me to hold on to the door and I did as I watched my life flash before my eyes," she wrote on Facebook.
The store’s owner, David Sagona, posted surveillance footage of Johnson’s survival. "Kyra Johnson, I don't know how you survived. You had about 2 seconds to seek cover," Sagona wrote on Facebook. In the caption of a different video, he wrote: “Kyra, you definitely had an angel looking over you.”
Sargona said that none of his employees were harmed, but Johnson attributed her survival to divine intervention. “Sounds really bad but God had me in a protective bubble!” she wrote. In an interview with KATC, Johnson said she thought about her children and family. “I don’t even remember grabbing onto the coke machine that hard,” she recalled.
Others didn’t escape the series of severe storms that spawned the tornadoes in the Gulf Coast. Three people died in Mississippi and Louisiana as a result of the storms, although tornadoes reportedly touched down in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana declared a state of emergency for seven parishes, CNN reported.