IOW storm damage estimated at $2M

Published 1:48 pm Sunday, April 17, 2011

Irma Morrill describes the damage to her house on Trump Town Road near Windsor.

Click here for gallery of storm photos by Tidewater News Managing Editor Gwen Albers.

Click here for storm photos taken by Tidewater News reader Tammara Edwards.

WINDSOR-Louise T. Taylor heard strong winds and driving rain as she sought refuge in a downstairs bathroom of her home on Walters Highway near Windsor at 7:15 p.m. Saturday. It wasn’t until Taylor poked her head out that she realized there was a problem with her home.

An apparent tornado had broken her kitchen window downstairs, but it wasn’t until she went upstairs that she discovered the back portion of the roof on her home of 50 years had been taken off by the storm.

“I heard what I thought was wind and heavy rain,” the 87-year-old said. “I didn’t hear what sounded like a train. I wasn’t thinking about a tornado hitting here because I’ve been here so long.”

Taylor’s home was one of more than 25 damaged by what witnesses described as a tornado, said Don Robertson, Isle of Wight County spokesman. Robertson said the storm did about $2 million of damage. He estimated that anywhere between 250 and 1,000 residents lost power as a result of the storm.

The storm littered Taylor’s once immaculate yard with debris, including the remains of a barn lifted off its foundation. A rental home she owns across the road also was damaged; no one was living there.

Friends and neighbors were there Sunday to help Taylor clean up and provide her with jugs of water.

“I have some good, good neighbors and good friends,” she said. “I’m just a blessed person.”

Taylor’s home, which she believes was built as early as 1871, was damaged, but was not a complete loss. She expects to rebuild.

Mike Brown, whose home on Trump Town Road between Windsor and Isle of Wight was hit, said he heard what sounded like a freight train coming up the driveway. He looked for his wife, Kathy, and daughter, Lauren.

“By the time I got to them, it was over,” he said. “It couldn’t have lasted more than about 15 seconds.”

No one was injured at Brown’s home, but the storm did considerable damage. He said it blew open the front door, broke front windows and took out a portion of the back of the home, which probably relieved the pressure enough to save the structure.

Brown lost a cinder block garage and three vehicles inside, including two Ford Mustangs.

Brown’s son, Stephen, a student at Virginia Tech, arrived home Sunday to see his family. Brown said the home built in 1902 was insured, and he plans to rebuild.

Irma Morrill, another Trump Town Road resident, will not rebuild her five-year-old, two-story home destroyed by Saturday’s storms.

“I’m going to buy a house somewhere else,” she said.

Morrill sought refuge in a small room of the home when the apparent tornado hit. She described falling insulation as snow and said she and her daughter had to dodge a door that was flying down the hallway.

Mike Doggett, a resident of Central Hill Road between Windsor and Isle of Wight, left 30 minutes before the storm hit and came home to a damaged roof, two totaled vehicles, fallen trees and a yard littered with debris.

“It was devastating,” Doggett said.

He said no one was in the home at the time.