Wary after May tornado, Wendell residents watch the skies when new storms threaten

Posted July 23, 2019 5:54 p.m. EDT
Updated July 23, 2019 6:01 p.m. EDT

— When thunderstorms rock eastern Wake County, the threat is all too real for some Wendell residents. The imprint of a May tornado is still visible on the Parkers' farm. Piles of trees and what used to be a hay barn are reminders of how powerful that storm was. And a severe storm forecast forces them to think about the present while still working on cleanup of the past.

"It may never be what we call 'normal,'" Jan Parker said Tuesday. "After two months, it's still a mess."

The Parkers wake up each day to a new normal: storm damage caused by an EF-2 tornado back in May that roared through eastern Wake County.

"It happened really quick," said Jim Parker, "but it's going to be a long time cleaning up. We’re looking at a lot of stuff that’s going to take a long time to get picked up, smoothed out, straightened out."

The Parkers fear more rain and wind from summer storms mean more damage to their property.

Mother Nature made an especially nasty mark on the family cabin. What was once a welcoming place for family gatherings during the summer and on weekends was completely shifted off its foundation.

Jan Parker said the fate of the cabin – full of precious memories – is uncertain. She's not sure it can withstand more damage.

"If it's possible for us to save it and restore it, we want to do that," she said.

The front part of the cabin is still intact. A contractor was checking it out on Tuesday to see if it can be moved without incurring additional damage.

As they face down the next nasty storm, the Parkers lean on their faith.

"I believe the name of that is grace," Jan Parker said. "God definitely has grace, and we have been given (it). We were spared. We weren't injured."