Petersburg residents begin cleanup as tornado is confirmed

Posted at 11:42 PM, Jun 01, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-02 13:39:50-04

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) -The National Weather Service has confirmed to CBS 6 Senior Reporter Wayne Covil that the widespread damage in Petersburg Friday evening was indeed caused by a tornado and straight line winds.

CBS 6 brought you the scene Friday evening, and upon returning to the scene Saturday morning, we have gotten an even better look of damaged homes and businesses, likened to the aftermath of when Hurricane Irene came through Central Virginia last August.

You can read our previous report below, and see more from Wayne Covil tonight at 6 and 11.

While they never had a tornado warning, some of the worst damage was south of Richmond, particularly in the Tri-Cities.

When CBS 6 came up on Trarich Road in Petersburg Friday afternoon, it looked like a city washed away.

Almost a dozen homes deemed uninhabitable by a storm, that residents believe was actually a tornado.

“A call came in at 2903 Trarich Road,” said Captain Everett Edlin from the Petersburg Fire Department. But when Edlin arrived, he found a path of destruction over a two block area.

Not only were the roads completely blocked by downed trees and power lines, trees had fallen on top of homes, and cars.

Edlin says it looked like a tornado had ripped through the neighborhood. A storm which he says lasted only a matter of minutes

Those who were home he says were lucky, some of them sought shelter in their basements.

 “We estimate that we have six or seven houses and outbuildings damaged,” said Edlin, including an apartment building destroyed when a tree fell on top of it.

“Never been through a tornado before. I don't know what it was but it was scary,” said Erica McCain. She and her mother were inside their apartment when the tree came crashing down. “All I heard was a rumbling sound…It was terrifying,” she said.“This is something I will never forget."

Edlin says the clean-up could take days.

“We're trying to get a tree off the roof of a house and put some plastic on it right now,” he said.

Edlin and residents in the neighborhood are just grateful that everyone made it out alive.

The American Red Cross is there to help residents, but the Eldin says most of the people in the neighborhood are staying with relatives, including his own parents.

Edlin says last year his parents home was ravished by Hurricane Irene. He says this time, the damage is worse.