Rimes opens up about childhood tornado terror

Leann Rimes felt compelled to organise a benefit show to raise funds for the victims of America's recent tornado disasters because she experienced the terror of a twister when she was a child.

The singer will take to the stage in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday (05Jun11) for a special gig, hosted by her husband Eddie Cibrian and featuring a silent auction of memorabilia from stars including Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson and Tim McGraw.

All the proceeds will help survivors of the tornadoes, which have swept across America's southern states in recent weeks, killing hundreds of people.

Rimes now reveals she can relate to the survivors of the tragedies, as she was caught up in a terrifying tornado at her grandmother's home in Texas when she was just seven years old.

She tells the Florida-Times Union, "My grandmother pulled me into a closet, and I literally saw the roof pick up, turn sideways and sit back down catty-corner back on the house.

"Every window in the front of the house was blown out, and the pillow I was sleeping on had a huge shard of glass through it. Ever since I've been terrified of tornadoes.

"We wanted to reach out to the victims... A lot of these small towns, people don't have houses with shelters. They're living in what they can afford. It's terrifying. Where do they go? It's heartbreaking."