WINDSOR – The full-length mirror still stands in the corner of 16-year-old Lauren Kerlin's second-floor bedroom. The antique vanity and four-poster bed, even the framed picture hanging on the far side of the room, hasn't moved.
The only thing missing is the bedroom's back wall, which was blown out when an unconfirmed tornado slammed through Cathy and Mike Brown's restored 1902 farmhouse on Trump Town Road Saturday night.
"It sounded like a freight train was rolling down the driveway," said Mike Brown, as neighbors, friends and family descended Sunday morning to begin cleanup operations. "It only lasted about 15 seconds, but you could feel it coming. You could feel the vibrations."
Miraculously, Cathy Brown said, the family wasn't in the tunnel's clouds line of fury. Her daughter had left her bedroom only moments earlier, but was still waiting for the rain to let up before leaving for a friend's house.
"It was divine intervention that no one was hurt," she said. "I'm just thankful that God made it happen the way it did. It could have been much, much worse."
Across the street, mother and daughter Brenda and Irma Morrill tell of seeking refuge in an inside bathroom of their ranch house Saturday when train-like noise thundering toward their home. While they weren't injured, the storm peeled the roof off the house. They say uprooted oak trees and doors flew past their door in the midst of the storm.
They and Irma's son, Mark and Lori Briggs, who live next door, were out early Sunday cleaning up, picking up tree limbs and trying to build a temporary holding pasture for their horses. Although the equine survived the storm, their permanent pasture is full of debris and downed trees. The horses were penned up inside Briggs' garage until the temporary paddock was ready.
"They were traumatized too," said Brenda Morrill. "I'm scared, and not completely out of shock yet. There so many things to do: call work, get insurance companies, get the cars out of the garage before the house foundation weakens even more."
The Trump Town residents were among 22 Isle of Wight families whose homes were damaged in the band of heavy thunderstorms and at least one unconfirmed tornado that blew through Surry and Isle of Wight counties before jumping across the James River Saturday. The spring storm is being blamed for three deaths and dozens of injuries in Gloucester and Deltaville.
Although Isle of Wight County had significant property damage, no injuries have been reported, said Rusty Chase, the county's emergency services director.
"It's amazing," Chase said. "We had houses cut in half and people who barely escaped serious injury, but no injuries. We were very fortunate.
By the end of Sunday, Chase has upped damage estimates to upwards of $2 million.
Chase said dispatchers begin receiving first calls reporting sightings of funnel clouds around 7:15 p.m. Saturday, mostly from the Windsor area and southern end of the county. That's almost an hour after he sent the first of several text alerts out to citizens, he said.
Although Trump Town Road bore the brunt of the damage, the storm skipped around, hitting homes in Central Hill, off Blackwater Road, Garrison Road, Walters Highway and Ballard Road.
Virginia Lassiter, who has lived a farmhouse off Ballard Road for 45 years, had sheets of demolished metal grain bins wrapped around trees and strewed across the neighboring fields on Sunday. It was the three metal silos blowing into her house that actually took the roof off her old farmhouse, she added.
No storm victims came to American Red Cross' emergency center at Trinity United Methodist Church in Smithfield for help on Sunday, said Jack York, a spokesman for the organization. Most disaster victims were staying with friends or family, he said.
Get breaking Isle of Wight news at twitter.com/DP_Isleof Wight.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun