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NC marks one year since lethal tornado swarm

Posted April 16, 2012

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— Survivors, the bereaved and the people who helped them are marking one year since a swarm of lethal tornadoes ripped across North Carolina.

On April 16, 2011, 25 tornadoes touched down in 33 counties. The twisters killed 24 people and destroyed or damaged more than 6,500 homes and 113 businesses.

Destruction on S. Saunders Street in Raleigh Slideshow: Tornado damage then and now

The most lives lost were in rural Bertie County, where 12 people died.

Four of the dead were children in the Stony Brook North mobile home park in north Raleigh – siblings Daniel Quistian-Nino, 9, and Yaire Quistian-Nino, 6 months, and their cousins, Osvaldo Coronado-Nino, 8, and Kevin Uriel Coronado-Nino, 3.

"We feel a lot of peace in our hearts, and we know they are with the Lord now," Cristina Nino-Alvarez, the mother of Daniel and Yaire, said after her children's funeral last April.

Shaw University planned a ceremony Monday to officially reopen its student center and thank donors and volunteers who helped the school rebuild. The tornado damaged 27 buildings on campus and forced the university to cancel the rest of the school year.

Events to mark the anniversary of the tornadoes began this weekend.

Highland Baptist Church in Raleigh recalled how dozens of its members spent days cutting down trees, securing houses, covering roofs and removing debris from homes and yards in the storm's aftermath.

"It's a celebration of how God used this church to respond immediately" to tornado victims, said Lin Honeycutt, a member of the church and volunteer with the North Carolina Baptist Men.

Glenn Jackson attended Highland Baptist Sunday morning to say "thank you" after his home was hit by a tornado last year.

"We had men out there for weeks," he said. "It was just a daunting task."

Residents along King Charles Road held a block party Saturday to celebrate the yearlong efforts to restore their neighborhood which was ravaged by the storm.

"For the most part, everybody is pretty much back to where they were," said resident Josh Wiggs. He was also celebrating the first birthday of his son, Hudson, who survived the tornadoes at 5 days old.

Anna Johnson is looking forward to moving back into her King Charles Road house after finishing repairs next month. The tornadoes sent a tree crashing through her roof and into her living room.

"I can't wait to say, 'Hello, house. Momma's back,'" Johnson said with a laugh.

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  • Shine -On Apr 16, 2012

    joeblink: I agree it does not unless you are WRAL. The very reason I stopped watching their 'live' broadcast and read it on the computer - so I may pick the rhetoric I wish.

    I remember last year well.... I was lucky but right in the middle of it....... and Oh by the way RAL - I was over 100 miles from the triangle.

  • smegma Apr 16, 2012

    slow news day? you can find this story in 25 different versions in 36 different places on wral's main page

  • simplelogic Apr 16, 2012

    "hey joeblink

    maybe you should think about using some compassion. Or maybe just think before you speak...alot of people lost everything that day. I cant stand people like you."

    Where in joeblink's post did you see a lack of compassion??? If anything, he's pointing out that people all over the state deserve attention and compassion, not just those in the triangle region. I really don't know where you're coming from, SAMCRO4ever. Maybe you should think before you post.

  • rmid327 Apr 16, 2012

    Why get mad with joeblink? It's a fact...I don't live in or near the Triangle...but I promise you, my family, friends, and community suffered loss from the tornado. Lost EVERYTHING....complete neighborhoods GONE. People died in Cumberland Co too...or were seriously injured....in Cumberland Co. I follow your thought, joeblink.

  • bitemedoughboy Apr 16, 2012

    I somewhat agree with joeblink. People all over lost everything to this storm. I worked through it and know the devestation that occured, and not just in the triangle but in places like Bertie Co, Roanoke and Wilson. WRAL covers other things they want to in these areas, why not the before and after. Or...maybe it's just not sensational enough??? People in certain parts of our state are still feeling the aftermath of this storm, one year later.

  • SAMCRO4ever Apr 16, 2012

    hey joeblink

    maybe you should think about using some compassion. Or maybe just think before you speak...alot of people lost everything that day. I cant stand people like you.

  • tallywhacker2000 Apr 16, 2012

    The planet doesn't begin and end in the Triangle.

    Bitter, party of 1, your table is ready!

  • chamdingo Apr 16, 2012

    "Now send a crew to match up before and after pictures in Bertie County, Roanoke Rapids, Wilson, etc. The planet doesn't begin and end in the Triangle."

    That was helpful.

  • seankelly15 Apr 16, 2012

    joeblink - "The planet doesn't begin and end in the Triangle."

    Gee... I could have sworn that this was a Triangle TV station.

  • joeblink Apr 16, 2012

    Now send a crew to match up before and after pictures in Bertie County, Roanoke Rapids, Wilson, etc. The planet doesn't begin and end in the Triangle.