Waverly residents deal with storm aftermath

Stories of loss, survival, and rebuilding emerge from wreckage of Virginia town

A foundation is all that's left from where a trailer was lifted from the ground with three people inside.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — When a mobile home on Maifield Avenue was struck by the severe storm on Wednesday in Waverly, Va., three of its residents were killed and a fourth person was seriously injured.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service confirmed that a strong, EF-1 tornado came through Waverly on Wednesday evening. The NWS conducted a survey that concluded the tornado began a few miles south-southwest of Waverly. The tornado moved fast through the town and ended about five miles north-northeast of Waverly. Max winds reached speeds of 100 to 110 mph.

Numerous trees were downed, two mobile homes were destroyed and several homes and businesses were damaged.

The deceased have been identified as Larry D. Turner, 50; Devine J. Stringfield, 26, and Ivan T. Lewis, 2. The 30-year-old woman who survived is the mother of the 2-year-old and she remains hospitalized.

In addition, there were seven non-life threatening injuries that also occurred during the storm in Waverly.

8News spoke with several residents who said it all happened so quickly. They say after the storm passed, they heard that three of their neighbors, one of them a toddler, were missing.

“And that’s when six or seven of us started going through the woods,” said resident David Root.

“I was in water waste deep from the swamp,” Alison Matthew added. “I was 100 yards from the baby.”

Root said as they were scouring the woods, one of the men leading the search shouted that he found something.

“Sure enough, the two men were there.”

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Amazingly, in the midst of seemingly endless destruction, a home belonging to William and Linda Ballance stands unharmed other than a single broken window.

Elsewhere in town, members of Empowerment Temple have already begun rebuilding.

Anyone needing assistance in the vicinity of Waverly because of yesterday’s storm, or who would like to volunteer to help, or wants to provide donations can contact the Sussex County Housing Office at 804-834-1302.

For complete tornado aftermath coverage, click here.

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