Farmer Uprooting After Fourth Tornado Strike

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rural parts of northwest Sumner County suffered extensive tornado damage in Saturday's storms. One victim who's been through it before says this is the last time.

Mark Tracy's farm just south of Argonia has been in his family for generations. In his lifetime, the farm has been hit by tornadoes four separate times. Tracy isn't certain why tornadoes seem to be attracted to his particular location, but he has his suspicions.

"Something to do with the terrain. I'm a firm believer in that. That, or else there's a bullseye on my butt," said Tracy.

Tracy and his wife took refuge in the basement when the storm moved through. It's an act that likely saved their lives.

"A lifetime of accumulation gone in three minutes. Three to five minutes is what we was in the basement... not a scratch on us," he said.

The couple may have made it through the storm, but their farm did not. Much of their farm machinery, including three combines, are considered a total loss. It's a hard hit for Tracy, who's looking at a harvest just five or six weeks away.

Living through four tornadoes, Tracy remembers them by the years they struck. The first one hit when he was just 10 years old. The last, before his one, was in 1997.

"Color me gone. After four times, I'm not staying here again. I'm moving on," he said.

What's left of the Tracys' house will soon be leveled. The couple says they will rebuild anywhere but there. They don't want to take that chance.

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