‘This was scary’: Cleanup efforts underway after tornado leaves path of destruction in Lancaster County

IRVINGTON, Va. (WRIC) — Cleanup continued Friday in the Northern Neck after an EF-1 tornado touched down, leaving a trail of damage in the towns of Irvington and Kilmarnock on Thursday.

The damage in Irvington was widespread on Friday, with trees and debris everywhere. One homeowner who 8News spoke with hand

One homeowner who 8News spoke with is surprised he and his family still have a place to live.

All around Chris Braley’s home, large trees that once stood upright are now uprooted and sprawled out on the ground. He says when the tornado hit, his wife was home alone, so she ran into the bathroom for cover as branches pierced the side of their home like spears.

The famil just put their house up for sale a few weeks ago, but now it’s time to change gears.

“Everything can be replaced, it’s not worth stressing about,” Braley said. “You can’t stress over something you can’t control.”

The Braley’s garage was destroyed and their minivan remains under a tree. Inside, cleanup crews have ripped the walls down to keep mold from setting in.

The trees surrounding his home that offer shade and privacy are what attracted him to the area. Now, those same trees have left him with a mess that could take months to clear.

“I think it’ll take pretty quick to get the house fixed,” Braley said. “Getting all the trees out of here could take six months, nine months.”

Meanwhile, another Irvington resident is grateful she wasn’t harmed following a close encounter during Thursday’s storm.

Candee Pevahouse works at the Steamboat Era Museum and was just a few yards away from a magnificent nearby tree when it came crashing down.

“I’ve been through two hurricanes, now this is my first and hopefully last tornado because this was scary,” she said.

Pevahouse was inside the museum giving a tour when the storm hit. She knew something wasn’t right, so she took her museum guests inside a restroom to hide until the storm and tornado cleared.

“You hear this loud noise, like a big semi-tractor,” Pevahouse recalled. “And then we felt and heard the thump and it’s over, and you’re like, ‘holy smokes, what happened?'”

Fortunately for Pevahouse and her museum visitors, the massive tree fell away from the museum, only damaging a sign.

Terrence McGregor, Chief of Lancaster County’s Emergency Management Services, called it a close call.

“We feel very fortunate that no one was trapped, injured or killed,” he said. “With a tornado, it’s always a good day when you have an event like this that there were no injuries and we’re very grateful for that.”

McGregor said the path of destruction in Lancaster County is roughly six miles wide.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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