Tappahannock man recounts incredible storm survival story

TAPPAHANNOCK, Va. (WRIC) – John Loving had a front row seat for Wednesday’s storm in Tappahannock. He was sitting on his porch talking to his brother on the phone when he realized it was on its way.

“I heard it coming. It was a big roaring sound,” Loving said. “Before I could get in the door, I was down here, in this ravine right here.”

Loving says he tumbled several feet down a hill near his home, off Highway 17, when the winds blew through. Amazingly, he was able to safely walk back up in the dark.

“I guess with the adrenaline and whatnot, I made my way back up and I made my way back into the house, and by then it was pretty much over,” said Loving.

Loving didn’t even get a scratch.

“I think the man upstairs was looking out for me.”

His yard is a mangled mess of debris. Now, crews are cleaning up.

Trained storm reporter Rod Outten, who reports to NOAA, is one of the people assessing the damage where Loving lives. When he gets to the scene of a storm, he tries to figure out how fast the wind was going and in which direction.

“I look at what type of trees were broken, what direction they were broken,” Outten said.

After an initial survey of the damage at Loving’s home, Outten says he can already get a sense of the strength of the storm.

“It’s pretty strong, real powerful, and it came down pretty quick,” Outten said.

As Loving looks around at all the debris surrounding his home, he can’t help but remember how it used to be.


“It’s devastating. This was a beautiful place,” Loving said. “Now you can see it’s all gone, and it was just in a matter of a couple of minutes.”

But he knows it could have been a lot worse.

“I feel very lucky.”

For complete tornado aftermath coverage, click here.

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