Suffolk residents remember 2008 twister

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Wednesday brought a third day of tornado watches for Hampton Roads within a week. And while most were looking to the skies, folks in two Suffolk neighborhoods did so with a bit more anxiety.

Robert Waters nerves and home suffered severe damage after he and his wife rode out the twister of 2008.

Photos: Suffolk tornado, 6 years later

“We keep a bag packed at all times and keep fuel in the vehicles, keep one completely full, just in case,” he told WAVY.com.

The funnel cloud was caught on video at OBICI hospital down the street. The monster storm cut a path from the Waters neighborhood of Burnette Mills to the Hillpoint neighborhood, where Anita Roach saw it out her back door.

“And I kept thinking, ‘oh,it’ll just go away because things like that don’t happen to normal people,’” she said.

Roach was so convinced it would pass, that she passed on taking pillows off the bed for protection. She didn’t want to remake it later.

“I just shut all these doors [in the bathroom] and got down there on the floor and just covered my head,” she said.

When she finally emerged, her whole bedroom was gone.

“On days like today, you just kind of sit back and go, ‘it can’t happen to me again. We’re fine, we’re fine,’ cause there’s nothing you can do about it,” Roach said.

That tornado was an EF-3, with speeds of 136 to 165 mph. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed and about 200 people were hurt.

Waters says on a day like Tuesday, there’s nothing to do, but stay informed and as positive as possible: “It’s all about surviving, and the only way to survive this is with the help of the Lord and helping each other, that’s what we’re here for.”

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