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Wake County Residents Look Back at 1996 Tornado

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ZEBULON — It came with little or no warning, but left apermanent mark on many residents of eastern Wake County. It was April 15,1996 when the Triangle took cover as a powerful tornado swept through atdusk, leaving destruction in its wake.

That was Bret Baier's first day onthe job as a reporter at WRAL-TV5, and as his first assignment, he wassent to Zebulonwhere the tornado looked like it might, and did with a vengeance, touchdown.

Things at the West Side mobile home park look very different a yearlater. Many of the homes are brand new. The tornado destroyed 16 homesthere last year. Miraculously, there were no deaths associated with thestorm.

Residents, looking back, now think about whatmighthavehappened. Maxine Conyers and her family took a terrifying ride insidetheir mobile home last year, even though they saw the funnel approaching.

The family fled from the trailer and took refuge in a nearby car,huddled inside until rescuecrews came to help. Conyers' children remember the experience well.

The mobile home park is almost totally recovered. Only a few scarsremain, but Tuesday night, residents such as Edith Durham took time toremember the year before. Durham says she sees storms very differentlynow.

Some families were forced to move out of the park after the tornado,but those who stayed are saying thank you to the community which helpedthem put their lives back together.

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