by Andy Shupe
by Andy Shupe
An apparent tornado touched down Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in the Harris Community east of Fayetteville and west of Elkins, damaging a home owned by longtime resident Orvetta Cox. Volunteers, neighbors and friends worked with emergency personnel to secure the residence, collect Cox’s personal items and begin the process of removing debris.
The storm blew through the area just after midday and seemed to miss the towns in our coverage area, but then reports began to come in that there was damage in and around Elkins. I drove up to the Harris Community on Round Mountain when I began to hear from my editor, who was nearer to a better citizen-band scanner, and from reports on my portable scanner. The path of the apparent tornado was very narrow and seemed to be limited, at least in the area around where I was, to a small home atop a hill. I shot a few frames outside the house before going inside and figuring out what had happened. I met the woman whose house it was and spoke to her, hearing her story of riding out the storm in her hallway.
The roof over half of her house was damaged or entirely removed and rain was falling inside. I photographed volunteers collecting her things and getting them to into the back of cars to take them to be stored. Ms. Cox was working alongside the volunteers, though several people tried to get her to stop and rest.
By the time I left and the light had faded, work had begun to remove two large trees that had been uprooted in front of her house and to put her belongings in the cars of neighbors and volunteers. As sad as it was, it was inspiring to see so many strangers come together and work in the rain.