Life returning to normal after tornado

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 23, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
SALISBURY — Saturday was warm and sunny, an average day for this time of year in Farrington Meadows.
One man was out mowing his lawn. Another family gathered in the backyard with friends or relatives.
But though life goes on, there are still plenty of signs of the tornado that roared down Newport Drive on April 16.
Five weeks later, roofs on several houses are still covered with tarps. There are piles of mulch and twisted tree limbs along the roadsides.
Two homes on the road are reportedly still too damaged for owners to return.
Up and down the road, rows of signs show where contractors and roofers are still hard at work making repairs.
Still, by all accounts life in the neighborhood north of Salisbury is returning to normal.
Reached by phone on Friday, Sue Grubb said the recovery process was ongoing.
She and other residents of the neighborhood said insurance companies are working with them to process claims.
No one the Post interviewed reported any problems, and some spoke highly of their insurance agents.
Even so, funds are moving slower than some would like.
“We’ve gotten one check, but everything is not covered,” Grubb said. “There’s still a lot to be done, but we’re recovering okay from it.”
David Potts, whose home was hit by six trees as the tornado barreled through, said contractors have been hard at work.
“Right now, we’re in the process of tearing most of the stuff off the roof,” Potts said.
A crane is coming Tuesday to put new roof trusses in place.
But he and wife Nadine show a sense of humor about the event.
In their yard, the twisted stump of a tree that was torn up by the funnel is marked with a hand-painted sign: “Twisted tree — art by tornado.”
“So far, we haven’t run into any real problems,” Potts said.
But, given the damage to their home, he said more discussions are going to have to happen.
“We haven’t gotten down to the hard negotiations on the stuff I think (insurance) should do,” he said.
“Right now, I’ve got enough money to cover what they’re doing.”
But there’s more damage to the home than what the adjustor originally found, he added.
Sarah and Daryl Presson have made headway since the storm.
A privacy fence that was blown apart by the tornado has been repaired.
“I still have a hole in my dining room,” Sarah said.
“They put a new window and a new door in the garage, but they still need to straighten up the roof yet.”
The tornado’s winds pushed the garage roof about four inches off of its bracing.”
“My husband’s father built that garage with my husband, and the old way of bracing a roof is what held it,” she said.
Daryl pointed to a wooded lot next door. Between the Presson and Potts houses, trees still lie bent and splintered from the force of the winds.
Some have begun to sprout new leaves above the places where limbs were torn off.
“We’re just slowly but surely putting everything back together,” Sarah said.
“The neighborhood sort of came together that day,” Daryl said.
He praised Duke Energy and state Department of Transportation workers for their rapid response, as well as local first responders and firefighters.
“And we were just blessed with nobody getting hurt,” he said.
The tornado’s path of destruction put the neighborhood in the spotlight.
Daryl Presson said TV news vans turned out to film the neighborhood after the event. One stayed crew there most of a day, he said.
Grubb said she and husband Don have turned down several interview requests.
Other residents declined to be interviewed or didn’t return calls.
Those who did speak told the Post they still feel fortunate that no one was hurt when the funnel passed over their neighborhood.
Grubb said that, compared to the damage in Alabama and other parts of North Carolina from tornadoes, they were lucky.
Sarah Presson said they’re very careful to pay attention whenever severe weather is predicted.
“And if there’s a tornado watch, we make sure we know what’s going on,” she said.
When Potts was asked whether the tornado had a lasting impact on their lives, he said things were going on as normal.
“That first set of storms that came through right after we had that one, I can’t say that we slept too well that night,” he said. “But we haven’t been too upset by it.”
“What’s going to happen is going to happen,” Potts said. “You can’t live your life being scared of what’s around the corner.”
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.