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Recovery slow for storm-ravaged Raleigh neighborhood

Posted July 4, 2011

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— Shattered by an April tornado, the McKinley Mill neighborhood in northeast Raleigh is slowly on the mend.

Blue tarps still cover numerous homes awaiting repairs, and two homes along Serendipity Drive were razed because they were damaged so heavily in the April 16 storm.

"It's like having your whole life just turned upside down," Sue Cotterman said. "It's been kind of crazy. It's like living out of a suitcase for two months."

The Cotterman family had to move out of the neighborhood and are still waiting for repairs to start on their home. They might not get back in their home until September, possibly October.

"It's the little things that you miss. You're looking for stuff, you can't find it, and moving is your whole life," she said. "It's been hard. It's been hard."

Some of Cotterman's neighbors are faring a little better. The Baldovino family, for example, moved back into their repaired home Friday.

Glenn Shell's home in McKinley Mill sustained mainly roof damage, but he didn't have to move out. He said the sound of progress on repairing his home is a welcome change from the terrifying sounds of the tornado.

"You always hear people say it sounded like a freight train. It's a pretty loud noise," Shell said.

Serendipity Drive storm recovery Recovery slow for storm-ravaged Raleigh neighborhood

The crew working on Shell's home is also repairing the roof on William Fort's home two doors down.

"The Lord was watching out for us," Fort said. "We were blessed on this end of the street compared to the west end of Serendipity."

Fort didn't have to leave his home of nine years and said he expects the house will be as good as new in the coming days.

Tuesday is the deadline for people in the 20 counties that have been declared disaster areas to apply with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for recovery aid.


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