Washington County VA

Three years later, community still recovering from tornadoes

Three years later, community still recovering from tornadoes

GLADE SPRING, Va. - It's been three years since tornadoes tore through our region, devastating the communities in it's path.

The storms hit Tennessee in Greene, Washington and Johnson counties. It then moved north to Virginia, to Smyth and Washington counties.

One of the hardest hit areas was Glade Spring, Va.

New homes now line Stagecoach Road in Glade Spring, a stark difference to the scene three years ago, after a tornado tore through the neighborhood.

"It's changed considerably," said James Sadler. "Originally, there were no houses left on this road from here down to there all of the houses were gone."

James Sadler and his wife lost everything. They weren't able to move into their new home until three months ago. The Sadler's had insurance delays and trouble finding a builder.

"We can't believe it either," James Sadler said. "We just can't believe we're going into a house."

We found out it's a feeling the community shares. The storm damaged or destroyed more than 400 buildings in Washington County, a $42 million loss.

Ted and Doris Lester told us they hid in a bathroom while the tornado tore off part of their house and leveled their garage.

"It was really a scary scary time for us," said Doris Lester.

They were able to move into a new home six months after the storm.

The only signs left of the tornado are broken tree limbs and empty fields where barns once stood. The Lesters told us even though the physical evidence is disappearing, the emotional toll of the storm will take more time to heal.

"Heartbreaking, to see all that you've worked hard for go down in just a matter of seconds and it was a matter of seconds," said Ted Lester.

Despite everything that they lost, the Lesters told us their neighborhood is resilient and looking toward the future.

Washington County, Va. first responders and residents will gather, on Monday, to remember the victims of the tornado.

They'll also go over how to prepare for future emergencies.

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