One man dead, homes damaged after severe weather Tuesday

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 4:09 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - One person is dead and several homes are damaged after powerful storms swept across Central and Southwest Virginia Tuesday afternoon. Damage stretched from the New River Valley to Amherst County. Thousands were left in the dark as severe weather toppled trees and flooded roads.

Near the community of Monroe, multiple agencies, including the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office, responded after a 34-year-old man was crushed by a falling tree.

“A gentleman was loading his lawnmower, and the tree came down on the trailer, and pinned him in the trailer,” said County Public Safety Director Sam Bryant. “It just looked like it was a sudden death.”

Bryant said the man was apparently part of a two-man crew mowing yards in the area when the storm hit.

“This is what I would call a technical rescue recovery. We have to do this just right to keep everyone safe and to be respectful of this gentleman and recover him,” said Bryant.

In Bedford County, high winds caused extensive damage to the Robincrest Mobile Home Park in Thaxton. One home was shoved four feet off its foundation. The owner, who declined to go on camera, came back from a shopping trip to find her house of 11 years crumpled forward into the lawn, flower pots crushed, bricks buckled, and declared by the county as too dangerous to occupy.

But she said her cat, Butters, rode out the storm inside the home just fine.

A few doors down, Ronnie Trent took shelter with his wife as the storm approached.

“About that time it hit, we hid in the bathroom. Got in the bathtub, got some pillows, and it shook our house,” said Trent.

That shake turned out to be from a 30-foot tall white pine, which brushed the outside wall of Trent’s home as it fell, just inches from where the couple hid.

“I thought to myself, this is it, you know?” he said.

In Roanoke, the same storm dumped enough water to fill Campbell Avenue, shutting the road down for hours, and leaving a muddy mess. It also snapped trees across the city, blocking roads and trails.

Tuesday evening, after the storms passed, much of the damage remained, leaving plenty for local agencies, and residents, to clean up in its wake.

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