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Southeast Virginia Tallies the Damage

Three tornadoes swept through central and southeastern Virginia on April 28, 2008, leaving behind a 25-mile trail of smashed homes, tossed cars and more than 200 injured residents.

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SOURCE: | The Washington Post - April 30, 2008

Teams of emergency workers spent the day combing through damaged areas with search dogs looking for trapped victims and assessing damage.

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"It's a slow, arduous process," said Del. S. Chris Jones (R), a former Suffolk mayor who spent the day volunteering at the shelter.

More than 100 people gathered at the shelter set up at King's Fork High School, including 51 who slept there Monday night. Evacuees spent the day eating donated food, watching CNN, playing games and wondering what awaited them at their homes. Insurance adjusters began setting up shop at the shelter to start the task of accepting claims.

Kenneth Gucwa, 30, returned to his newly built house to find the roof blown off and some of the walls gone. His mother had bought the house last year in preparation for her move from Vermont later this year. Her move has been delayed, but Gucwa said they plan to rebuild.

Gucwa and two friends from Williamsburg picked through his belongings Tuesday, but many items were ruined after hours of exposure to the pounding rain.

Still, he began transporting his tools and appliances out of the house, even those that might no longer work.

"There are scavengers out there," he said. "I can only imagine what they want."

Staff writer Tim Craig contributed to this report.


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