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Woman survives Marshalltown Tornado Without Basement

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa  --  Extensive debris still remains after an EF3 tornado ripped through Marshalltown on Thursday.

People were trapped inside businesses when the storm hit and tore buildings apart.

"I am hearing a lot of wind, and suddenly the wind started getting louder. And the louder that the wind got, the faster that my pulse got," said Amy Perez.

That was her final warning before she took cover.

"The door was opening on its own, and we have a sound that it makes when a client walks in, it just kept going 'ding dong, ding dong.' That's when I realized I need to move," she said.

Perez did not have access to a basement, so she decided to take shelter in a bathroom. She wrapped her arms around a pipe and held on as the storm came through.

"Wrapped my arms around one of the pipes and got one of the ceiling tiles that had fallen and tried to block it over me. A a torrent of water comes down on me, and at this point I am keeping the door closed with my feet as I am trying to cover my head," she said, explaining her scary situation. "At the same time, it's like somebody's pushing the door trying to get inside, so I had my hand on that door pushing back against the force of the wind, and the whole time it's getting louder and louder. At one point I had to turn my shoulder, as well, to keep the door from opening."

Perez says that lasted for nearly 10 minutes--and then everything was quiet as the storm passed.

Perez is a law intern from Houston, Texas. With only two weeks left of her internship, she is glad to be leaving Iowa without a scratch.