For much of Sunday, parts of the region resembled a war-zone.
The path of a Saturday night tornado ripped an 8.5-mile path of havoc bending trees like tooth picks, leaving homes in crumbles and the sharp smell of freshly chopped pine everywhere, said Gloucester County Sheriff Steve Gentry.
The storms carved a deadly path through Hampton Roads from South of the James near Walters and Carrsville, through Isle of Wight County, James City County, Gloucester County where a middle school suffered extensive damage, and then into Deltaville in Middlesex County.
Power outages affected more than 200,000 people and the governor declared a state of emergency Sunday afternoon.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the storms and flooding in the commonwealth," Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement.
The severe thunderstorms Saturday evening ransacked much of the Southeast United States with 240 reported tornadoes and at least 43 people dead, including three in Gloucester County.
The people who lost their lives in Gloucester were identified as Periccis Gerasimos Koutsoumbinas a 60-year-old male resident of Hummingbird Lane, Richard Lynn Ingram, 53, of Shelly Road, and Cecil Wray Page Jr., 90, of Shelly Road.
There were no damage estimates Sunday evening, but given previous storms in the region, they are expected at least in the millions.
Residents in the affected areas were busy at work Sunday clearing debris and assessing damage to their homes and property. Some swapped survival stories, while others helped cut limbs from downed trees and cleaned yards.
It wasn't an uncommon sight to see people carrying chainsaws and axes down the street in Gloucester asking how they could lend a hand. For some, the storm and subsequent tornado produced near-death experiences.
According to authorities, Page suffered a medical emergency and his death was not directly caused by the storm.
State of emergency
Under Virginia law, a state of emergency is required so state resources are available during an emergency.
Virginia emergency officials said that 177 structures were damaged by the severe weather.
The governor made plans to visit Gloucester County Monday. He was scheduled to be in Gloucester at 8:30 a.m. for aerial and ground tours, and planned a 10:15 a.m. appearance at the Bellamy United Methodist Church at 4870 Chestnut Fork Road.
Schools will be canceled on Monday in Gloucester because of the storm recovery efforts, according to Superintendent Ben Kiser.
Operations at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester returned to normal Sunday.
Peter Glagola, a spokesman for the hospital said 23 people were treated as a result of the storm. Three patients were transferred to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News.
One patient was admitted and the other 19 were treated and released, he said.
"We did stock up last night expecting more people this morning," Glagola said Sunday. "The second wave never came."
James City County
Cleanup from violent storms continued Sunday as neighbors in Grove began to remove trees and assess damage to their homes from a possible tornado that blew through about 7 p.m. Saturday.
National Weather Service investigators are expected to render a decision Monday on whether Grove, the hardest hit area in James City, was struck by yet another tornado.
If so, it would be third twister to strike the eastern end of the county in the last 18 years. For context, a 2006 report by the Peninsula Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee notes that the city of Williamsburg, a few miles to the west, has had just three tornadoes since 1896.
A 1993 tornado that hit Grove did $500,000 damage to Innovative Marine Products, ironically located on Blow Flats Road. Damage to nearby BASF¿Corp. totaled nearly $200,000. The same funnel left at least 13 people homeless.
A May 2002 storm produced a suspected tornado that downed trees and power lines, much like Saturday's event.
Saturday's storm left several people homeless, including a man who injured his head and shoulder when a tree fell through his mobile home.
Traffic along Route 17 in Gloucester County heading south remained clogged for much of the day as residents surveyed the damage. Access to parts of Shelly Road in Gloucester was restricted to residents as authorities tried to section off some of the worst hit areas.
Pocahontas Trail re-opened after being closed because of several power lines and trees down between the Newport News city line and the Busch Gardens flyover.
Many people said the storm's destruction left them in awe.
"This is Mother Nature right here," said Anna Wimibish, of Gloucester, as she cleaned up her yard littered with tree branches.
The day stressed her, she said, but she thought about what she could do to help. She fired up her grill and cooked breakfast and lunch for some of her neighbors that were without power.
"We think we're in control," she said, letting out a deep sigh. "We don't control anything."
Rusty Carter of the Virginia Gazette and Reuters contributed to this report.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun