Local News

Dallas tornadoes' impact resonates in Lee County

Posted April 3, 2012 10:28 p.m. EDT
Updated April 4, 2012 8:54 a.m. EDT

— When storm super cells spawned at least 62 tornado touchdowns in 20 counties across central and eastern North Carolina in April of last year, Lee County was among the hardest-hit areas.

Nearly a year later, victims of those storms were reminded of Mother Nature's terrifying power as news of two large, powerful and dangerous tornadoes in Texas spread across the nation.

Teresa Love has been planting trees at her home on Pine Line Drive to bring some foliage back the St. Andrew's neighborhood outside Sanford after a tornado on April 16 ripped away trees, roofs and homes, including part of her own.

She said she's naming the trees after family members to remind them that, though the tornado badly damaged her house, her family's sense of home could never be toppled.

"We just had a birthday party for my brother here and a lot of family here," Love said. "It just seemed like old times."

She didn't always feel that way. 

For a while, Love said, like many of her neighbors, she couldn't bear to face the destruction. Half of her house was gone, and she didn't think she would ever return.

"It just was (depressing) to come back out here and see all this," she said.

Love, who huddled in her bathroom with her daughter and granddaughter when the tornado raged through, said it was her grandson who convinced her to rebuild. Many of her neighbors are doing the same, she said, though others have given up.

"It's still hard, at times, to talk about and, because it will be a year soon, the memories are more (vivid)," she said. 

Still, she said, St. Andrew's is bouncing back more quickly than she ever imagined.