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Second anniversary of deadly NC tornado swarm approaches

Posted April 14, 2013

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— 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.

Tornado in downtown Raleigh April 2011 tornadoes

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.

Tornado still leaves mark two years later Tornado still leaves mark two years later

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.

16 Comments

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  • shortcake53 Apr 15, 2013

    I will never forget the tall steel power towers around our home that were bent like pipecleaners, all the tarped roofs, debris everywhere, and our brand new minivan totaled in our driveway. The whole neighborhood looked like a war zone.

  • icmfal Apr 15, 2013

    Thanks for the reminder for my brother's & wife's anniversary!

  • gobbledygook Apr 15, 2013

    That awkward moment when a commenter says they will not visit WRAL anymore but continues to reply to our comments anyways.

  • jblake1932 Apr 15, 2013

    Must be a slow news day, huh?

  • NoObamaCare Apr 15, 2013

    topsailicious- Sounds to me like you have a "tornado" going on in your head!

  • Obamacare survives Apr 15, 2013

    Who knew a story about tornadoes could offend someone?

  • topsailicious Apr 15, 2013

    It is selective posting. They control what gets posted and don't give me any guidelines grief. The guideline is you post whatever is self serving. Journalists? Nope. Political spinners? Definitely.

  • OleNCNative Apr 15, 2013

    I don't know why you are being this way, but I am offended. I will not bother to watch your news show, neither will I bother your web page again.
    topsailicious

    What?

  • dirkdiggler Apr 15, 2013

    "I don't know why you are being this way, but I am offended. I will not bother to watch your news show, neither will I bother your web page again. topsailicious"

    What the.....?

  • markjb33 Apr 15, 2013

    Just more proof that "mobile homes" do exactly that in Tornado's and/or Hurricanes, become mobile

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