WJTV News Channel 12 - Life returning to normal for tornado victims in Raleigh

Life returning to normal for tornado victims in Raleigh

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These photos were taken just moments before the house collapsed after being heavily damaged by a tornado on April 16, 2011. Photo courtesy Joe Stiles These photos were taken just moments before the house collapsed after being heavily damaged by a tornado on April 16, 2011. Photo courtesy Joe Stiles
Photo courtesy Joe Stiles Photo courtesy Joe Stiles
Joe Stiles house was lifted from its foundation by a tornado on April 16, 2011. Photo courtesy Joe Stiles Joe Stiles house was lifted from its foundation by a tornado on April 16, 2011. Photo courtesy Joe Stiles
Photo courtesy Joe Stiles Photo courtesy Joe Stiles
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Life is slowly returning to normal for the residences of Serendipity Drive in Raleigh. 

An outbreak of tornadoes on April 16, 2011 left a path of destruction across central North Carolina. 

"I remember a couple of loud bangs," said Joe Stiles, a resident of Serendipity Drive. "I remember talking and screaming but not being able to hear people respond," said Stiles of when the EF3 tornado swept through the area. 

The tornado picked up Stiles' house while he and his family were inside and moved it off its foundation. The family was able to escape from their house minutes before it collapsed. 

"The thing that was going through my mind was, what do we do now?" Stiles said. "It looked like a war zone."

Photo Gallery: Damage left behind by April 16 tornadoes

In the days and weeks that followed, Serendipity Drive was littered with piles of debris and police tape. But now life is almost back to normal. People walking their dogs, landscaping their lawns and kids hanging out make it hard to believe what happened two years ago. 

The only reminders of that day are a few trees snapped like twigs and a piece of siding still entangled high in a tree. 

"We're the lucky ones. We just lost stuff," Stiles said. "The folks down in Stoney Brook – those are some holes in their lives that will never close. For us, its very minor."

Charlotte Huffman

An award-winning journalist with an investigative edge, Charlotte has driven legislative change with reports on workplace safety concerns and contaminated groundwater. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

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