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Locals hold out hope for Oklahoma families

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Updated: 5/21/2013 7:37 am

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As a massive, two-mile-wide tornado ripped through Oklahoma City Monday, all David Mendenhall could do was watch in horror.

"Being left in the dark is a scary situation."

Mendenhall's 11 aunts and uncles, and 21 cousins all live within miles of the deadly tornado's path.

"We've done a lot of crying, and just trying to figure out what's going on."

The storm tore through more than 20 miles and was on the ground for 40 minutes. Mendenhall says it crippled power lines and left communication impossible.

"Now everybody's on the phones trying to figure out who's heard from them, when's the last time we heard from them, were they prepared, were they able to get to the designated site for us to make sure everybody's clear?"

The Mendenhall family formed an evacuation plan 15 years ago, just in case a disaster like Monday's storm ever happened, complete with a central meeting place at a family farm on the outskirts of town, and bunker with three months of food.

"I don't know if they were completely prepared for this but I pray to God that they were. If there's anything that they need, anything I can do for them. That's all I want to know is what can I do to help"

Action News has learned the Mendenhall family has now all been accounted for.

If you are looking for someone, check the Safe and Well list organized by the American Red Cross at:

The local chapter of the American Red Cross is organizing volunteers and resources to send to Oklahoma City is needed, according to Spokesperson Christian Smith. She asks that donations be made via their website.


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Fred Thompson - 5/21/2013 8:40 AM
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May all of Mr. Mendenhall's family members be safe and sound. Call/ online RED CROSS today to donate. Its just the right thing to do!! DON"T RELY ON GOVERMENT!!
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