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.

But tornadoes?

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.


Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, CBW, just when you think you're used to a long list of horrible awfuls, along comes another one out of the blue (or the black) with a whole new way of creating chaos.
I'm so very sorry for your wonderful area and its residents.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

deborah said...

I am also very very grateful that you weren't in the path of this devastating tornado.
Keeping all involved in my thoughts and prayers. What can I do to help?

Anonymous said...

CBW, so sorry to hear about this--intensely scary. The injuries and loss of life, across southern states, are so tragic. Hope you have heard from your friends/loved ones by now...may they all be safe, and you & your kids continue to be so.

CA Blog Cabin fan

These Nine Acres said...

So glad you were spared. Wow. Scary. We had tornado warnings here but I don't think any touched down. I was out Saturday night in that mess and witnessed a HORRIBLE car accident. Blech. Let's hope for a calm remainder of the spring.

Bethie said...

Glad to hear you are safe. It barely missed us as well. It did however destroy my cousin's home in Gloucester, but his family is safe. They huddled in the laundry room hovering over their three year old son listening to the deafening roar!

Prayers to all!

Lynne M said...

I am so thankful, we didn't even have a limb down in our yard, it could have been so much worse. I was pretty scared, though, since we lost power before the tornado even hit, and hubby decided it was a good time to go to Lowes. We were there when the tornado passed by about 1.5 miles away. My thoughts and prayers stay with the families who have lost so much, and the families of those who lost their lives.

This is something that never crosses our minds here in Gloucester...

I went to Page when it was Gloucester Intermediate School, and later I graduated in the ball field. What a tragic loss..

Mental P Mama said...

So glad y'all are okay. So glad.

Maria_NJ said...

When I looked at your second picture I thought you shot it in B+W. Wow there was some real devastating pitures in those glad that you and yours are OK...


Daryl said...

The reports on the news were very scary .. SO glad Jamie and family are ok .. and that you didnt get 'hit' .. we had some horrific wind here on Saturday afternoon ... the wind was whipping everything .. I kept looking up expecting to see Dorothy on her bike ..

Deltaville Jamie said...

I'm exhausted... and I'm not down there... bit of info on the church in Deltaville. The Pastor and his wife left the Parsonage (which was untouched) and went into the church for shelter thinking it would be safer. Amazingly they were unharmed.

So glad the tornado skipped you guys.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Oh, that's devastating! So glad you're OK. I have a friend in Raleigh who was also spared, but like you, some of the worst damage was too close for comfort. We had a tornado warning, too, on Saturday - but, um, we all kinda missed it somehow. Thankfully nothing touched down; I think we've had our share of natural disasters for one year, thank you very much.

Trisha said...

Wow! I am glad that the tornadic activity missed you. We have had our share of bad weather here - tornadoes and big hail - but we too have been spared!

Grandma J said...

Oh my, I'm so glad you dodged this bullet. I can only imagine how devasting it is for everyone. My prayers go out to all affected.


Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Just plain scary! while we got lots of rain and wind..nothing like this! I am so glad you guys are OK. Just think last week Jamie was there! We prayed for everyone there in church yesteday.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Thank you all for your words of concern. Here in Mathews we are just fine, but I am still glued to the news stories of the folks directly impacted, our neighbors in Deltaville and Gloucester.

Tomorrow's brief post will include a list of donations needed by the Red Cross as of this evening, per an email sent from CB Daughter's school.

I heard tonight that the 580 displaced students will be merged with another middle school. Cannot even imagine how challenging that will be.

Also, an update on the fatalities. Evidently there were two storm-related deaths, and one due to medical issues presumably unrelated.

This morning I drove past Page Middle School and was astonished. I've never seen anything like it and hope I never do again.

p.s. If you're reading this prior to midnight Monday, you've essentially just read tomorrow's post. Tune in tomorrow for a repeat of the same information! but also a few interesting photos from Queens Creek, unrelated to the tornado.

Annie said...

Whew. So glad you and family are OK. Heard about the tornadoes, and wondered how you had gone!