Colerain woman reflects on storm that killed husband, aunt

Posted May 16, 2011
Updated April 6, 2016

— Bertie County is one of the least populated counties in North Carolina, but when powerful tornadoes blew through the state April 16, it had the highest number of casualties.

One month later, the rural farming county is trying to overcome the tragedy that wreaked havoc on homes, businesses and lives.

Teresa Perry was home with her husband and family when the twister barreled through.

"It was terrifying," she said. "When we looked out the window and saw that storm coming toward us, it was terrifying."

Perry's husband and aunt were killed.

Teresa Perry Colerain woman reflects on storm that killed husband, aunt

"All I could hear was glass breaking. The house felt like it was just coming apart," she said. "That's all I remember."

Ten others died in the storm. For the people affected, healing and rebuilding lives is a slow process.

"Anything like this is going to be slow, or seem slow to the people involved," said Colerain Mayor Burney Baker.

Nearly 90 homes in the area were damaged and 67 were destroyed. Insurance money and federal loans are helping, but Baker said the real cost to the county can't be measured.

"This situation hits particularly hard. How are you going to put a price on the loss of life here?" Baker said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided a temporary home for Perry on the site where her mobile home once stood, but she's eager to move.

Bertie County Tornado Photos Web only: Extended interview with tornado survivor Teresa Perry

She said the memories of the storm that took her family are just too strong.

"It was something I will never forget," she said.

Perry received the first FEMA trailer in the state. There are four others being used by storm victims, 15 being prepared for families to move in and 11 at the agency's staging area.


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  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop May 17, 2011

    Prayers to you Mrs. Perry.

  • mommy2caroline May 17, 2011

    I spent my childhood summers in this community and saw the damage about a week after the tornado. My mom lost 3 family friends and my cousin and her family went under their house, in the crawlspace, to ride it out. Please do not forget this community. It will take a long time to recover.

  • mchljam2 May 17, 2011

    Prayers are with this woman.

  • westernwake1 May 17, 2011

    My best wishes and prayers go to Ms. Perry and her family. The loss of her husband and aunt in this storm is very tragic.

  • Outforjustice May 17, 2011

    My prayers are with you Ms. Perry. I can't imagine what you must feel regarding the tragic loss of your husband and aunt.