Austin woman in Dallas recalls what happened when tornadoes hit

You're shopping, and your phone starts getting alerts, you hear sirens going off, and next thing you know you're locked inside the mall. That's what happened to an Austin woman who was in Dallas when the deadly tornadoes hit.

“You could hear it ringing throughout Nordstrom, everyone's phone had the same buzzing noise going off, so you knew something was up,” said Austin resident Whitney Stenger.

Whitney was visiting Dallas for the holidays when she decided to go shopping Saturday afternoon. 

“I looked outside, and people are starting to huddle at the doors and running in and out. The sirens were going off outside Nordstrom. I poked my head out and heard the sirens.”

The warnings were for the severe weather hitting the Dallas area.

“My mom was texting me come home and my sister just come home.”

But she was stuck at the mall.

“You can see Nordstrom staff standing at all the doors with Walkie Talkies. The staff at Nordstrom was telling us over the intercom and in person to get away from the glass, get away from the windows. They started locking the doors and closed that (security) gate and so everyone was pretty much stuck inside the mall.”

Whitney said she knew when they moved everyone into the same area, it was a serious situation.

“They were evacuated from the movie theater, and everyone was pulled into Nordstrom, and then they pulled us back into the stockroom.”

Whitney said everyone was huddled together, on their cell phones, trying to let everyone know they were okay.

“I just thought ‘You know what? Nordstrom is pretty sturdy, the mall, you know, big brick, I think I am going to stay here and wait it out.’”

Whitney said in the long run, she's glad her instincts kicked in.

“We are taught growing up about tornadoes and tornado drills. I knew I should stay put, you just know you're not supposed to get on the roads, it's the most dangerous place to be is on the road or in your car.”