One year later, Laurel still recovering from EF2 tornado

LAUREL, Del. – With everything going on with the coronavirus, it may be easy to forget that one year ago, Delmarva was facing a much different struggle.  Last year, a series of tornadoes touched down on Delmarva, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Laurel was the hardest hit area, with an EF2 tornado touching down.

Laurel Mayor John Shwed said, “It was absolutely unbelievable what we saw in terms of destruction.”

On April 15th, 2019, powerlines in Laurel were completely knocked over, roofs were ripped off houses, trees were toppled, and some houses were completely destroyed.

Hunter Outten is a storm chaser. He witnessed all the devastation first hand.

Outten said, “It was a lot in the way of power flashes, a lot of debris being thrown in the air, lightning was very very vivid in the storm.”

Signs of the tornado still remain today. All over town, you can still see snapped trees, broken power lines and worst of all, abandoned homes.

Mayor Shwed said, “Some of the things that are not repaired now are possibly cases of where somebody didn’t have insurance on a piece of property.”

In other areas, it’s a different story.

You may remember that a tree crashed through a home, trapping a girl inside. That home has since been rebuilt on the very same plot of land.

Mayor Shwed said, “You can see the place of the O’Neal house, a very nice one story green sided ranch home there.”

Of course, not everything that was lost can be replaced.

Nathan Truitt, whose family lives in Laurel said,  “We lost our dog from the tornado.”

What the tornado could not destroy however, was the community bond in this small town.

Mayor Shwed said, “When the chips are down, Laurel people will pull together.”

The other two tornadoes that touched down one year ago on Delmarva were near Federalsburg and in Broadkill Beach.

Categories: Delaware, Local News