VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Tuesday marked one month since an EF-3 tornado hit Virginia Beach. It caused nearly $16 million dollars in damage to the Great Neck community.
It’s been a long road to recovery for victims.
One woman who’s displaced said it’s hard to believe it’s been a month since the tornado touched down in her community, sending a tree through her master bedroom.
But she said looking back on it now, it’s a miracle, she, her daughter and granddaughter weren’t hurt.
“Every room has a little crack in it, so they don’t really know (the full extent) until they pull the walls and drop the ceiling,” said Jo Nicholson.
Nicholson was in the upstairs bedroom with her daughter, Katie, and granddaughter, Millie, when the tornado hit April 30. She said Millie was in the bathtub when they started getting weather alerts.
“We were standing right here just kind of discussing thunderstorm warning, then it went to a tornado,” Nicholson said. “Then Katie looked out the windows and saw the tree going crazy and it just went very, very still, so we ran down stairs and got in the closet and then the tree, you can see there’s still bits of the tree up there.”
They’re currently staying in a short-term rental before they move into a longer-term rental next week when construction is set to start on their home.
“It looks like we still live here because we’ve got nowhere to move everything,” Nicholson said.
Now, they’re packing up what they want to save and Millie is seeing which toys she wants to keep while her mom counts down the days until her baby brother is due.
“So much for nesting, but hopefully it’s calming down now,” Katie said.
Many neighbors have stepped up to help one another during this time, including a group of realtors helping families find temporary housing and others who felt called to step in.
Tim Lecky Jr. said he was getting ready to rent out his father’s home in July, but worked with a team of contractors to move up the date to June 1 so a family displaced by the tornado could move in.
“Cracks all the way down through the house and the ceiling so Grant Drywall and Plastering did that,” Lecky said. “Ken Lane Painting did top-to-bottom in the house, which looks amazing, Worleys is doing HVAC, plumbing, electrical.”
He said it all came together so quickly and he’s thankful he’s able to provide a place for them to stay.
A Facebook group called Emergency Housing Great Neck has helped connect many of those displaced with temporary housing.
Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia is also helping victims navigate their recovery.
“I know there were a lot of social media posts about people needing homes,” Lecky said. “We were just kind of right place, right time that we were able to help.”