Forest, Va. – After a EF-2 tornado barreled through a neighborhood in Bedford County, dozens of people work to clean up the mess.
The National Weather Service confirmed this morning it was a tornado. They say it had max wind gusts of 135 miles per hour. The twister was on the ground for more than six miles, traveling from the Norwood community to the western slopes of Fleming Mountain, about 3 miles southwest of Coleman Falls.
As an electric pole is lodged into a home and collapsed barns and shingles scatter the ground, devastation still lies in the area.
But camaraderie from the community gives residents impacted the hope to move forward.
The sound of chainsaws and rakes echoed in Forest along Bethany Church Circle as neighbors work for hours to clear uprooted tree debris.
While contractors worked on power lines, the National Weather Service team inspected the area to determine details about the tornado that touched down.
“I don’t think there is any meteorologist that doesn’t get a pit in their stomach when they know that this is happening,” National Weather Service Meteorologist in Charge Douglas Butts said.
For 20 years, Patricia Spruce lived in this home and never thought she would see this amount of damage.
“It’s really devastating I mean it’s going to take a long time to get this cleaned up,” she said.
Spruce and her husband survived untouched but the chaotic memory of what happened will always remain.
“I mean it sounded like a freight train and then when this tree was falling,” she said. “I thought it was going to come through the bedroom and when it hit the ground the whole house shook.”
Neighbors piled the street to lift logs and cut down trees into pieces.
It was a no brainer for William Busch, to hop behind a tractor and join the effort.
“It’s just like one big family,” he said. “You get to know your neighbors better when you are there in the trenches with them and helping them out in their time of need.”
One family served up a feast for their neighbors and anyone who needed to regain some energy.
“This is just a great community,” Spruce said. “I mean the best neighbors you could ever have.”
Bedford County Fire’s deputy chief said God’s Pit Crew, the nonprofit that helps in crisis events, is also expected to travel up here and help residents in any way they can.
Power is still out on Goshen Road but the fire deputy chief said Appalachian Power aims to have it fix Saturday night.