Gloucester, other areas try to recover following devastating storms
TORNADO DAMAGE (Joe Fudge, Daily Press / March 29, 2011)
- VIDEO: Tornado-related videos from Gloucester, Isle of Wight and other areas
- The path of destruction
- Gloucester tornado damage at $7.7 million and likely to rise; 167 buildings damaged
- YOUR PICTURES: Upload your storm photos
- PICTURES: Devastation at Page Middle School
- PICTURES: Tornado-related pictures from around the area
See more photos »
- Tornadoes and Wind Storms
- Gloucester (Gloucester, Virginia)
- Gloucester County
See more topics »
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.