9-year-old remembers being in Joplin tornado

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BROWN SUMMIT, N.C. -- Tuesday marks one year since 161 people were killed in a tornado that tore through Joplin, Missouri.  It's one of the deadliest tornadoes on the record books. 

Tayton Highly is a 9-years-old from Guilford County who lived through the storm. He and his dad were in the eye of that tornado when it tore through the city last year on May 22.

Tayton's story is one a lot of kids only hear about in science class. 

"We had water bottles and we put some color in it and shake them and put them upside down and you made tornadoes," says Tayton as he explains an experiment. 

Tayton spends the summers with his dad in Joplin, Missouri. 

"Before the tornado came in it used to be normal," says Tayton. "I was screaming when the tornado was sounding like a train.  I was screaming hard."

Tayton's dad laid on top of him to keep him from being blown away.  The two took cover underneath a concrete staircase. "It was windy hard."

Like most of everything else nearby, their apartment complex was leveled.

"Buildings were down, the park was down, and my old dentist where I fixed my teeth at, got destroyed, the gas station and fast food restaurants got all destroyed," explains Tayton.

Tayton and his dad walked away from it all, and Tayton made sure his friends did too. "I was turning my head to look if the kids were alright and that everybody got out alright."

The tornado helped Tayton figure out two things, what he wants to be when he grows up,  "I kind of like to be a weatherman."  He also figured out that he's a pretty tough kid.  "I'm brave now."

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