Mildred Byrley didn't even have time to change out of her pajamas.
But as Byrley sat laughing with her niece at the Bykota Senior Center Wednesday morning, the 88-year-old Parkville resident recounted the heavy winds that damaged her home of 40 years and forced her into the temporary shelter.
"I couldn't think, I was shocked," said Byrley, of the 1700 block of Ryewood Road. "I couldn't believe it. I thought I was seeing things. I thought I was dreaming. I couldn't believe that it really happened."
Byrley's home was one of three in the county that was condemned following the extreme weather early Wednesday morning, according to county emergency officials. The situation was much worse below the city line, .
Byrley said she was awoken by the sounds of the storm around 3 a.m. She and her son looked out the window and saw the damage to other homes.
"Our neighbor's car, the wind lifted it up and pushed it into our car," she said. "We thought that was bad, so we went downstairs and the big bay window was blown in and the glass was all over the place and the stuff that was in the living room was over in the dining room."
The storm also tore off Byrley's chimney, tore apart her porch and buckled a wall.
"They had to condemn the house; it's unsafe for them to go back in," her niece, Barbara Herman of Dundalk, said. "They both got out OK; the cat got out OK."
The emotional impact of what had happened was starting to register for Byrley, who said she was just two years away from having the house paid off.
"Everything was painted," she said. "The little shed by the house that was all painted, and the porch, the ceiling was shaded, the side of the house was painted, everything was painted on the porch and that was all gone."