Second anniversary of deadly NC tornado swarm approaches
Posted April 14, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Tuesday marks the second anniversary of a series of deadly tornadoes that ripped through North Carolina, killing 24 people and damaging or destroying thousands of homes.
The Stony Brook North community off Brentwood Road in Raleigh was one of the hardest hit by the storms.
Four children, ranging from 6 months old to age 9, were killed when a funnel cloud ripped through the area. Half the homes in the neighborhood were unlivable.
Today, the community has rebuilt, but the impact the storm had can still be seen in the voices of those who lived through the experience.
People like Daniel Alvarez, who's lived in Stony Brook North since 2002.
"It was a day just like any other," remembered Alvarez, who was outside playing volleyball on the afternoon of April 16, 2011, when he noticed a dark cloud headed his way. "It got really dark. The street lights turned on. We ended up under some trees, completely trapped."
In a matter of seconds, life as he knew it changed. He and 10 others went from playing volleyball to being rescuers as they responded to a woman's frantic cries for help.
"She was desperately screaming, asking us to help get her children out. She had put them in the closet," Alvarez said. "We didn't know which room was the closet or which one was the bathroom. We couldn't tell."
But the group was too late.
Daniel Quistian-Nino, 9 and their cousins, Osvaldo Coronado-Nino, 8, and Kevin Uriel Coronado-Nino, 3, died as a result of a tree falling on their home.
"I don't like to remember, because I found one of the children under a tree," Alvarez said. "He was already dead."
To this day, many children who lived through the storm become anxious when bad weather hits the area.
"The kids get scared," he said. "Many of them cry."
Although the landscape of Stony Brook North has changed since that day, there are still subtle reminders.
For example, Alvarez pointed out, the tornado's path is still marked by the lack of trees in the community.
A memorial dedicated to those who died that day also remains so that no one forgets.
Across North Carolina that day, more than 25 tornadoes touched down dozens of times in 33 North Carolina counties.