King Charles neighbors mark tornado anniversary

Posted April 14, 2012 7:53 p.m. EDT
Updated April 16, 2012 5:46 a.m. EDT

A block party Saturday marked the spot where tornadoes swept through a Raleigh neighborhood.

— One year after tornadoes whipped through their Raleigh home, the Wiggs family celebrated Saturday. Their neighbors on King Charles Road in Raleigh paid tribute to life – the first birthday of Hudson Wiggs and the survival they all shared on April 16, 2011.

Josh and Brooke Wiggs brought their son, born April 11, home just before the storms swept in. The parents grabbed their newborn and big brother Caldwell and headed for the basement. 

"By the time we got to the basement, there were trees toppling, glass breaking. We got down to the basement just as the tornado started to roll through," Josh Wiggs recalled.

They surfaced to a neighborhood changed by wind and rain.

"It was just so surreal after it happened," Josh Wiggs said.

Their home has been restored to its pre-storm state, blue tarps replaced by balloons Saturday to mark Hudson's birthday. "It'll be a pretty unique story of his birth," his dad said.

Down the street, other neighbors set out tents and lawn chairs Saturday. The storms that tore their homes apart brought their community closer.

"For the most part, everybody is pretty much back to where they were," Josh Wiggs said.

Anna Johnson is one of those not quite made whole. She joined the party, but she's still living in rented space. "This is the first time I can really sit down in my neighobrhood and relax even though I'm not in my home," she said.

The storms left a tree in her living room and gaping holes in her roof. She's living in Cary while the rebuilding process continues. It could take another month.

"I can't wait to say, 'Hello, house. Momma's back,'" she said with a laugh.