Single mother prioritizes tornado shelter as she rebuilds life one year after tornado

A single mother of three boys has worked hard the last year rebuilding her life and prioritizes a tornado shelter in the process.
Published: Dec. 11, 2022 at 9:57 AM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Angela Cobb and her three sons lost their home in the Whispering Hills neighborhood and days after the devastation from the deadly December 2021 tornadoes they all caught COVID.

WBKO News caught up with Cobb one year later to see how her rebuilding process was going.

RELATED: SURVIVOR STORIES: Mother of three loses home, work car to tornado

First on her list was a storm shelter.

“It’s actually a shipping container. I just had it buried in the hillside, put an extra couple of supports in there,” said Cobb as she walked through her new tornado shelter.

A shelter is something Cobb and her young sons didn’t have the night of last year’s deadly tornadoes, which is why when she moved into a new home, she made this shelter a priority.

“I hope we never have to use it but I guess that’s wishful thinking,” said Cobb.

Cobb’s three boys were adopted out of foster care. She said the night of December 11, 2021 is one that’s engrained in their memory.

“My children are in therapy to deal with the panic and the anxiety and the depression, and there’s just a lot of ripple effects from it that I didn’t expect,” said Cobb.

She lost her home, a dog, Zoe, and her work car that night in the Whispering Hills neighborhood, but she and her sons were brought to safety by their neighbors.

“I handed her a kid or animal one at a time, and she would take them over to her house and then come back,” said Cobb.

Surviving the terrifying storm was just the beginning of the Cobbs’ journey to recovery, and one that’s far from over.

“I felt like I couldn’t process the physical part, and the emotional part at the same time. So first, I just did what had to be done and create a new life. And then all of a sudden, the emotions fell on me,” she said.

The Cobbs lived in a hotel for two months.

The single mother was motivated to move quickly for the sake of her sons’ stability.

While they found a new place and made it home, those stormy nights still stir up fear.

While the financial, emotional and physical burdens compound from one year ago, Cobb understands her family is few of the lucky ones.

“I’m at war with myself because I am so grateful. And I’m so thankful. And I know that I’ve been so blessed. But the other emotions are just still there, too,” she said.

Driving around Cobb’s old neighborhood a year later, many are still rebuilding.

There’s now a new home slowly going up in the place of Cobb’s old home on Meadowbrook Circle, which was once destroyed in an instant and surrounded by debris.

“Just out of habit, still sometimes I go to the old house,” she said.

Perhaps this before and after picture depicts the journey of these survivors-- while not complete, a progress still in the making.

“Everyone has their own journey through this. And I would just ask people to be so patient with the survivors from the tornadoes because we’re still going through it,” she said.

One year later: Before and after photos of Angela Cobb's old home.
One year later: Before and after photos of Angela Cobb's old home.(WBKO)

Cobb said her next goal for her new house is to get better and stronger windows when she can afford them. She adds that she checks her weather app about five times a day, and cloudy days or drops in temperature make her most nervous.