Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday was one heck of a day... After leaving the station to go shoot our story for the day, when my reporter and I got a call from the desk to head towards Driver, as a Tornado Warning had just been issued, and the storm was supposed to be there around 4:15pm.

We drove out past driver on King's Highway, and after we past Driver, the skies opened up. Pouring rain, pea sized hail, crazy winds... We got to the old bridge and turned around, and the rain let up a bit. Across a clearing, we see a mass of dark clouds. Including a funnel cloud. Over the scanner we hear reports of a tornado hitting the area near Obici Hospital (The Burnett's Mill/Freedom Plaza area). Pulled out my MiniDV camcorder and rolled on the tornado. As the twister made it's way a bit closer, we got the heck out of there... At this point another call from the desk telling us to head to Burnett's Mill, one of the station's employees has a sister that lives in that neighborhood, giving us reports of the devastating damage.

We paused at Nansemond River High School to watch the tornado throw debris up in the area from the Hill Point Farms area on it's way to Driver, then continue towards Burnett's Mill, where we waited with crews from both competing stations in traffic that can only be described as a parking lot. Trees were down on the off ramp, and Police are having a hard time getting to where they need to get because of the damage as well.

Once we get to what I can only call 'ground zero,' The damage was too intense for words... Destruction was everywhere... There was literally so much I had no idea what to shoot first, so I just started rolling on anything and everything, including a very shocked and bewildered family of three trudging through the rubble of their neighbors' homes with suitcases in hand...

I can never hope to comprehend what these people are going through with the loss of almost everything they had... But the true miracle in all of this is the lack of deaths in such a natural disaster... Especially in an area not accustomed to getting hit by tornadoes. My thoughts and prayers, as I'm sure ALL of my colleagues' are, are with every victim.