Monday, April 18, 2011
Thursday morning at sunrise, Queens Creek looked enchanting. A hazy fog made it look mystical.
Fast forward to Saturday night, however, and the same view was ominous and foreboding.
Neither of these two photos has been changed or enhanced in any way. The colors are exactly as they appeared at the time.
Saturday evening, a tornado associated with the storm featured above hit neighboring Gloucester County and worked its way to nearby Deltaville. Three people in Gloucester perished; numerous others (one report says upwards of 60) were injured; and the devastation to property is nothing short of astonishing.
Living in a coastal area such as this, one becomes accustomed to powerful storms. Hurricanes, tropical storms, nor'easters, ferocious thunderstorms, flooding, even the occasional water spout--all these are a part of life here.
Tornadoes that crush school buses and turn them on their sides? We don't see those very often, thankfully.
The path of destruction left by Saturday's tornado can only be described as a war zone.
Page Middle School (which used to be Gloucester High School) sustained serious damage. Homes were taken off their foundations in some cases and completely obliterated in others. Zoar Baptist Church in Deltaville, a fairly massive brick structure, looks like a bomb was dropped on it.
Below are some links to various sources of information on this astonishing, devastating weather event.
Click here to read Deltaville Jamie's account.
Click here for the Gazette Journal's story.
Click here for some video of the storm's damage.
Click here for photographs.
Gloucester and Middlesex schools are closed today, not only to give families time to deal with whatever losses they are experiencing, but also, at least in Gloucester, to allow time to figure out how to handle the logistics of 580 displaced students for the remainder of the school year.
On a personal note, I am thankful this storm barely--but just barely--skirted Mathews. There are reports of some damage in the North area, but for the most part the path of the storm danced just around us. One quick turn to the right and we'd have been directly impacted.
I used to take comfort in the fact that I live in a brick home with a basement. After seeing what this tornado did to Zoar Baptist Church (click here for a "before" picture) (click here for an "after" picture) in Deltaville, I no longer take such comfort and can only say I am grateful to have been spared.
Very, very grateful.