Wednesday, 18 April 2018 05:05

Greensboro’s Recent Tornado Touchdown: Hitting Home

Written by
Rate this item
(2 votes)
Tornado Damage in Greensboro Tornado Damage in Greensboro Submitted by Betty Gallo McIntyre

GREENSBORO - In the past few months, I have grown to know a lot of people from the Greensboro area. In saying that, the tornado that touched down in Greensboro on April 15 hit home for me.

Tuesday had been two days since the tornado touched down and did massive damage to the Greensboro community. It was a cool but sunny day which was the perfect weather for the clean-up process to begin and a major change from the damaging weather that hit a few days before. As I was on my way to one of the worse damaged sites to cover the aftermath, my mind raced with thoughts of what I would encounter. As I got closer to the site, I began to see signs of the damage. Among the many vehicles lined up along the streets, I managed to find a place to park beside a home in which the violent winds had uprooted a large tree in the backyard. My heart began to sink as I began walking towards the owner, Portia White while she and her husband were busy cutting the fallen tree. She was in good spirits considering what had happened in her neighborhood, as she was one of the fortunate ones. In speaking to White, she stated “We are blessed; this huge tree blew over in the opposite direction of my home. If it were to have hit in the other direction, it would have fell in my father’s and brother’s bedrooms.” The large tree had fallen a few feet from the home. She proceeded to take me across the street to a home that wasn’t quite as fortunate. The home was devastated by the massive tree that had fallen on the entire home. “Their 16 year old son was home alone when the storm hit, and he got out just in time” said White.  

I continued to walk through the community as White went back to work helping her husband cut the tree that had fallen in their yard. As I walked deeper into the community, my heart sank once again with all the devastation that was before me. Massive trees covered homes as well as completely blocking roads. There were hundreds of people, as well as children out in the yards and streets picking up debris and helping one another. I finally made it to Peeler Elementary School which was one of the three schools in the area that was totally destroyed. There in the school parking lot were numerous people giving out supplies, food, water and other types of assistance to those who lost everything. In speaking to several of the volunteers, two were high school students that came out to help; Lindsey Nelson and Morgan Craddock. They assisted in giving out items to those in need for the ministry “Out of the Garden” which helps feed students as well as their families throughout Guilford County. Their main mission is to make sure no child goes to bed hungry. Nelson stated “I’d like to see the help continue even after all this is over, as this area is always in need.” Craddock also said “Me and my friend were passing out food when one guy we helped told us this was his first meal in two days.” The multitude of people willing to help warmed my heart. People throughout Greensboro, businesses, area churches, various schools, and some principals and teachers were there also. A little further along I noticed a pick-up truck filled to overflowing with cases of bottled water as well as boxes and boxes of hot pizzas. As I spoke to one lady, she informed me they were all postal workers in the Greensboro area who had put their own money together to purchase food, water, and snacks to help feed the people.  

I continued walking into the community right behind the school, which was the worst hit area yet; full-blown devastation as far as the eye could see. There was not one home untouched by the tornado. I watched as hundreds more helped one another all the while avoiding the downed trees, power poles, and power lines. Michelle Jones volunteered to show me around, as she mentioned her daughter had attended the elementary school that was totally destroyed. She showed me a home in which the entire backside was covered by a massive tree. She stated, “These children were at home, but they were all in the front of the house when the tree crashed into the backside. The tree barely missed them all; none were injured.” As we spoke, up walked a lady in which Jones reached out and gave a huge hug. She introduced her friend as Marta Richardson, one of her daughter’s teachers from Peeler Elementary who teaches violin and piano. Each student is required to take one of the classes, so Richardson knew all the students attending the school. These students lived in the neighborhood we were walking through. As she spoke, Richardson began to cry. I watched the three friends comfort one another in a group hug; I began tearing-up also. Sometimes words are hard to come by, but a hug speaks volumes.  

The three elementary schools that were severely damaged are Hampton, Peeler, and Erwin Montessori. These schools will be closed for the rest of the year, and the students will have to relocate to other schools.

 The tornado touched-down around 5:30 p.m. which was categorized as an EF2 with 135 mph winds and was on the ground for 20 minutes. The total stretch of the tornado was 33.6 miles. There were several injuries as well as one death. One life lost is too much to lose, but it was quite a miracle there were not more lives lost considering all the near-misses that happened. I felt a peace as I watched the community come together to help one another in a time of need. Everyone I spoke to seemed to be in good spirits as they continued working to help clean up the disaster, one handful at a time.  

If you want to help, there are several ways in which you can contact Greensboro for information. One way is on the site Greensboro.gov. You may also call 336-373-City. Hundreds are still without power as well as homes. A lot of these people did not have much and will need help starting over again. They will need items such as toiletries, bottled water, ready to eat food, trash bags, blankets, etc. to keep them maintained until they receive assistance.  If we all do our part, there will be none in need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 02:20