Small Town Tragedy

When I was growing up, I don’t recall us EVER having a tornado in our area. It was just unheard of. Hurricanes, yes. But no tornadoes.

Then, maybe 30 years ago, there was a tornado in our town.  There were no injuries, and although there was damage, no homes were destroyed. But it was still scary to realize that it COULD happen here.

Since that time, there have been maybe three or four within about 25 miles of us.  I posted about one in this post in 2011.

Wednesday, it happened again, this time less than 30 miles (as the crow flies) from us, in the small town of Waverly.  That town is special to me, because my friends and I meet occasionally for lunch at a little restaurant there. The restaurant had some damage, but no one there was injured.

Others in the town weren’t as fortunate.  There were three deaths from this storm, including a 2-year old boy.

Motor Man and I rode to Waverly yesterday, and although we’ve seen coverage of the damage on tv, it isn’t the same as seeing it in person. One of the residents of this home was interviewed on the local news last night. He was there when the storm hit.

demolished 2-25-2016 2-59-14 PM

We were amazed at this huge piece of sheet metal/aluminum hanging from a power line.

sheet metal on power lines 2-25-2016 2-55-43 PM

A tree fell on this home, demolishing it.

tree on house 2-25-2016 2-57-26 PM

And debris is strewn throughout the town.

debris 2-25-2016 3-12-19 PM

Motor Man and I commented on how many tv news trucks we saw, and then we realized why:  we just happened to be in town at the same time our governor, Terry McAuliffe, was surveying the damage.

gov etc 2-25-2016 3-02-50 PM

The town was a busy place: electric company employees repairing equipment, National Guard removing debris. And The Salvation Army and The Red Cross: helping.

The area affected isn’t an affluent one, but supplies and aid are coming in from not only the local community, but other locations as well.

We aren’t meant to understand why things happen as they do, but it’s so easy to think:  if only that storm had hit a few miles away in an uninhabited area, maybe no lives would have been lost.

~These Days Of Mine~

15 responses to “Small Town Tragedy

  1. I’ve been hearing about Waverly on the news, Dianna, I had no idea you lived that close. It’s so heartbreaking. It certainly makes one realize that we must treasure each day because your life can change in an instant. Thanks for sharing your photos.

  2. Dianna, I couldn’t wait to see your pictures and you did not dissapoint.They are really good – they show the “ground up effect the tornado had on Waverly. I got in touch with our friend at “our” restaurant. She heard a loud noise, went to the back door and opened and the wind wrenched it out of her hands, water started pouring through the roof and things started whirling all around. They are okay (and lucky).Bad day in a small town.

  3. My heart goes out to the folks in that town. I’m no stranger to tornadoes and they are wicked. And you are absolutely right — actually seeing with your own eyes what damage a tornado inflicts is so different from viewing it on TV. It makes it more real and the sights you see will always remain in your memory. I still recall seeing the aftermath of one killer tornado when we lived out in ‘tornado alley.’ You may recall I wrote a post about that experience. I literally sat in the car and cried while we surveyed the damage. Bless all of those who are helping the folks of Waverly.

  4. Thanks for giving a human touch to this tragedy – my heart just aches for all that has been lost –

  5. It is hard to imagine the fury of these storms – even seeing the pictures or in person. …And they’re here then gone, but the effects last a lifetime. My Grandmother’s house (about 30 miles from Waverly) was destroyed 58 years ago by an Easter Sunday morning tornado. Only two rooms remained – one upstairs and one down. It marked my aunt with a fear of storms for her lifetime. I can imagine it will do the same for the dear folk in Waverly.

  6. Thanks Dianna, for reporting on this from the heart – my Mother was born and raised in Waverly, and we moved there, just outside of town, in 1965, and “in town” in 1968 – so I grew up there – and it was a wonderful place to grow up – my heart aches for all that was lost –

  7. I don’t mind thunderstorms—in fact I kind of like them but tornadoes are so unpredictable and scary, aren’t they? I am in Florida and we were under a tornado watch till 3 am the other day and I was a little freaked out in our little rental apartment alone. Chris was in Dothan and actually had to seek shelter in the hotel hallway for an hour or so as a tornado went right by and actually ended up going about 200 yards from his plant there. Lots of power poles taken down and trees as well and a little damage to an overhead door at the plant but they fared well compared to many other places that this storm swept through. I am sorry for your little town’s state—it is hard to see that happen anywhere. Glad help is coming in.

  8. Skeletons in the Closet

    The first tornado or twister that I remember in this area was in the Central Hill community. I cannot remember the year (I was very young) but it happened on an Easter Sunday in the mid-afternoon. It tore the side off a small house on what was the dirt road to the right as you left the Baptist church heading toward Lloyd Turner’s Store. I remember being amazed as I looked at the missing wall and seeing all of the furniture sitting in the same spot as nothing had happened. By the way, Shirley M. Dunn responded to my message. They were the 3rd car stopped in traffic due to the storm. She figures they missed the storm going through Waverly by minutes. I have Shirley as a FB friend, but we had not seen each other since 1969. We spent some time talking (not really sure how long) before they left. I believe that conversation was ordained and kept Shirley, her husband, and her aunt out of harms way.

  9. We have had one tornado come right through this area a few years ago and it was absolutely terrifying. It was so sad to learn about the town of Waverly having experienced such destruction and having three lives lost – just so devastating but how heartwarming to see the help they’re getting from every possible resource. That’s what’s wonderful to remember – we CARE about each other and HELP each other when there’s a need. I’m so glad the tornados missed you there in Smithfield…….let’s hope that’s the last of the big storms – I’m ready for a CALM Spring.


  10. My heart goes out to the people in Waverly, so very sad. It is good to hear that they are getting some help. Spring is a scary time for storms… fingers crossed that we all have a quiet one.

  11. So very sad.. & more than a little frightening..
    These storms are so unpredictable, & this one seemed to go straight through the town. The news interviewed several people from the area- they are grieving, but they’re strong– everybody talked about the sound of chainsaws and cleanup going on all around..

  12. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    Donnie Jones was used by our Lord to save me and my family, I have NO DOUBT! We were headed to my Uncle Bobby Horne’s wake. We have not been up that far to Waverly in years. I know we are not suppose to question our Lord, but I can not understand why the Lord save us and took the 2-year old. All I can do is praise our Lord and pray for the families. Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen

  13. A horrible thing for the town and its people. Your photos tell a devastating story and help to remind us of the frightening power of nature.

  14. Skeletons in the Closet

    The tornado that hit Suffolk a few years ago destroyed our new car, wiped out the brand new strip mall next to where my wife worked, and threw a pickup truck into the window one floor down and one window over from my wife’s office. Very fortunate that no one was killed. Just two weeks before that we were in Atlanta and two tornadoes hit. The day after we were walking down near the World of Coke and walked past a pill of bricks in an alley way where a wall had fallen. Later that night we found out that they had found a homeless person dead under that pile.

  15. The sheet metal on the power lines is an eerie sight. Thanks for sharing your photos with us.

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