Tornado rips through Sussex Co., Delaware
LAUREL, Del. — Sussex County farmer Glen Jones heeded the early-morning alarm signaling the threat of a tornado on Monday, April 15, moving to his home’s lower level.
A few hours later as the sun rose, he ventured out to survey any damage.
With no major damage around his house, he headed for the main farm to see what happened there.
“I got up there and everything had happened,” Jones said.
Three tractors in the field were badly damaged and a barn had collapsed on three more.
Three empty grain bins were swept off their concrete pads.
“One’s in the backyard, one’s in the neighbor’s field,” Jones said. The third bin blew into one of the pickups that was on the property.
Jones’ concrete shop was leveled and the roof of the old farmhouse on that property was blown off the house.
Fortunately, Jones said no one was living in the house.
A greenhouse loaded with watermelon transplants was also caved in and the plastic shredded, but to his amazement, Jones said the plants were not damaged and a greenhouse only 20 feet away remained unharmed.
With all of the destruction around his farm, Jones said he was still able count his blessings.
“It could be a lot worse,” Jones said. “Nobody was hurt. Everything else can be replaced.”
Jones was just one of several farmers and thousands of people impacted by the storm, later confirmed by the National Weather Service as an EF-2 tornado with winds estimated at 120 miles per hour.
The twister carved a six-mile path through the Laurel and Seaford areas of Sussex County.
In its wake, more than 20 structures were reported to have significant damage, multiple center-pivot irrigation systems were turned over from the wind and utility crews worked last week to restore power to more than 3,500 customers.
One minor injury was reported in Delaware and none in Maryland.
Jones said right away after the storm, farmer and non-farmer neighbors alike came to the family’s assistance.
One of the initial tasks was moving the watermelon plants to another farmer’s greenhouse.
“We got a lot of support from the community,” he said. “Everybody just jumped right in there.”
He said he doesn’t think the damage will delay his planting schedule and though they are just at the beginning of the clean up, he was emphatic that the damage will be repaired.
“We’re going to rebuild,” he said. “We’re going to make some lemonade from these lemons’”
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