WATCH: Texas family rides out tornado in their SUV

Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 12:56 AM CST
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PASADENA, Texas (KHOU) - Days after a ferocious tornado ripped through parts of Texas, a grandmother is recounting how she and her family survived the storm while trapped in their SUV.

Irma Cantu and her daughter had just picked up her 18-year-old grandson from Pasadena High School on Tuesday afternoon when the powerful winds and rain of a storm hit.

The three were stuck in Cantu’s Land Cruiser SUV outside the school and couldn’t go any further, even as a tornado was bearing down on them.

“I looked around. There was nowhere that we could go, so, I just put the car in park. I put my emergency brake on,” Cantu said.

Dashcam video reveals just how heavy the winds and rain were. It shows limited visibility and objects hitting the SUV’s front windshield.

“I could feel objects hitting my car repeatedly. It was terrifying,” Cantu said. “It was a very scary experience.”

The footage from the video gets noisier as the tornado gets closer, and Cantu’s daughter begins to pray that she and her family will be protected.

Cantu, however, appears to stay calm.

“I guess you’re either going to panic or you’re not,” she said. “No matter what happened, I knew that we would be OK, regardless of what did happen.”

In the end, the family was OK, but their SUV suffered damage, including a large dent to the rear driver’s side door.

When asked if there was anything she would do differently, Cantu said yes.

“Definitely in advance, when I see that there is going to be those warnings, I’m sure going to advise my daughter not to send her son to school. I would not have left the house,” she said.

The National Weather Service determined the tornado was an EF3, which means it packed winds between 136 and 165 miles per hour.