After the tornado peeled off half of Donna and Joe Rogers's roof and tossed it a quarter-mile across their Hamilton farm Friday, the couple slept under a plastic tarp to avoid the rain that dripped on them through the ceiling.
This week, the glorious fall sunshine -- aided by a temporary roof -- has kept the Rogerses and their Colonial home on Harmony Church Road dry. It also has shed light on the extent of damage to their farm, one of the spots hardest hit by the torrential rains, strong winds and tornadoes that swept through Loudoun and Fauquier counties from about 5:15 to 11 p.m. that night.
Damage in Loudoun County alone was estimated at $3.5 million. There were no serious injuries.
When the storm raced westward across 1,100-acre Hillbrook Farm, which has been in Joe Rogers's family since 1792, it damaged hundreds of trees and uprooted several. It tore off parts of the roofs on two barns and knocked down fences that separated their 30 horses from their 150 head of cattle and kept them all from getting loose.
Two of their thoroughbred horses were cut by flying debris. One chimney on their stately stone house was ruined, and upstairs windows were shattered. A treasured family coat of arms was soaked beyond repair.
"You just can't believe it until you see it," Donna Rogers said of the scene at the farm, which early this week was littered with massive branches. Oriental rugs were hung to dry on fences. Big sections of crumpled metal roof lay next to the house, shingles next to the barn. "We lost a lot of very valuable things that are just irreplaceable," she said.
The couple were home Friday night when they got a call from Donna Rogers's brother, William Truslow, who lives in Vienna. Truslow told them that a major storm was headed their way and that they should run for the basement.
Rogers said she looked out her bedroom window and all looked calm. Suddenly, the sky darkened, and a howling, twisting wind came rushing from the east.
"Stuff was just whirling by," she said. "It's sort of like 'The Wizard of Oz.' Everything that could move was rumbling."
The Rogerses headed for the basement and waited for the worst to pass. While they waited, the power went out.
"Once we knew we were alive, we had to find out about the animals," she said. They rounded up the horses and shuffled them into a corral, where they nervously kicked and squealed.
"All of a sudden, everything had changed in their little world," she said. "They like to have calm."
Later that night, neighbors, friends and some strangers began showing up with flashlights, tarps and chainsaws to cut fallen branches into smaller pieces. The next day, more friends showed up to help clear branches and debris from the long driveway to the Rogerses' house.
"The outpouring from the community has just been unbelievable," Donna Rogers said.
'Everything Was White'
Doris Stanford, 83, has lived in Hamilton since 1921 and is known in the community as "Grandma." She was at home on Harmony Church Road when the storm hit.
"I saw the leaves on the trees spinning around in weird directions and pulled down the drapes, and I went and sat on the basement steps," she said. The pull-down stairs to her attic were "just rattling and rattling."
Steve Wence, her neighbor, said the rain was coming down too hard for him to see anything. But he heard it. "It got real still," he said. "Then the wind started again and the lightning and thunder, and it sounded like everybody said it sounds, like a freight train."
Wence, his wife and their daughter -- Katie, 22, home from Atlanta for a day -- fled to the basement for the storm's short duration. Before they descended, Katie looked out and saw the wind lift their trampoline off the ground.
Tom Tyler, 34, who lives on East Colonial Highway, was watching the weather news on television and went to his back porch to see it for himself. "I saw pink clouds and clouds swirling around, and I went inside to get the dogs because I was going out the back door down to the root cellar. But then when I looked out on the porch again, everything was white, and I ran into the bathroom with the dogs, and it sounded like a freight train.
"I don't think it lasted more than a couple of minutes," Tyler said. When it was over, the 15-foot steel pole that holds up his purple martin birdhouse in the yard was bent in the middle at a 45-degree angle.
April Rollins, 38, lives on East Colonial with her three children -- Hannah, 7, Richmond, 9, and Pru, 11 -- and her husband, Tommy, who was in West Virginia on a church retreat.
"All of a sudden, the wind seemed like it was blowing black," she said. She hustled the children into the basement with their two dogs. Hannah was crying, she said. "I think she could tell something was wrong because of the sound of my voice."
Rollins's mother, Sandra Choate, 63, had gone to the Leesburg barn where she boards her horse to try to keep the mare safe. The usual drill in a hurricane, she said, is to turn the horses out to pasture. But "my horse is recovering from leg surgery and hock infection. . . . I was afraid if they turned her out, she'd turn up lame." Nothing much happened in Leesburg, she said, but on her way home, she saw the destruction in Hamilton and went straight to her daughter's home.
Rollins's neighbor, Fran Davis, 60, said she has been there since 1970, "and I've never ever seen anything like this. I looked out on the patio, and the clouds were dark gray and gray, and I heard a whoosh and I headed for the bathtub."
-- TOM WILKINSON
Fire at Airport
Officials from the Loudoun County fire marshal's office were investigating whether a two-alarm fire that broke out at Leesburg Executive Airport during the storm was weather-related. The fire began shortly after 6 p.m. in Hangar 27, one of the metal "condominium hangars," which are privately owned buildings on airport property.
The fire destroyed an Aztec twin-engine aircraft and damaged a single-engine airplane and an antique car in adjoining hangars. The identity of the ruined airplane's owner and a damage estimate were not available Monday. Marty Mantell, deputy fire chief in Leesburg, said the fire was hot enough to bend the hangar door and the hangar's metal sheeting exterior.
"It is very difficult to keep track of what goes on in there," said Stephen Axeman, chairman of the Leesburg Airport Commission, referring to the condo hangars. "This is a good example of why we need to know."
Axeman said someone had been working on the twin-engine plane earlier Friday. He said it was unclear whether the fire started in the engine or was the result of a lightning strike.
Tom Toth Sr., president of the Leesburg Hangar Condo Association, said no one can clean up the soot and materials used to extinguish the fire until the investigation is complete. "As [the airplanes] are sitting, there they're getting corroded," he said.
A small electrical fire at the Loudoun County Animal Shelter is also believed to have been caused by a lightning strike on the building or somewhere nearby, said Rayne Reitnauer, spokeswoman for the county-run shelter. She said the fire, in director Tim Crum's office, began about 6 p.m. and was already out by the time firefighters arrived.
Reitnauer said 10 stray dogs were brought to the shelter over the weekend, compared with about three on most weekends. Only three had ID tags.
-- LILA ARZUA
Tornadoes Touch Down
Remnants of Hurricane Ivan spawned at least three tornadoes in Loudoun and several in Fauquier, according to emergency officials in both counties.
The strongest was between 200 and 450 yards wide, measured F3 on the zero-to-five Fujita scale -- meaning wind speeds were 158 to 206 mph -- and traveled at least 20 miles through Fauquier.
The Meadows subdivision in the southern Fauquier town of Remington "took a direct hit," said Fire Chief Philip Myer of the county's Fire and Emergency Services Department, with seven homes destroyed and 18 severely damaged. One home was pushed slightly off its foundation. A new pickup parked in a driveway on Sumerduck Road was lifted by the wind and hurled more than 75 yards over trees and a power line before crashing upside down in a field.
The tornado weakened to an F2, with winds between 113 to 157 mph, as it moved north of Remington but grew to almost a quarter-mile wide as it crossed Beach Road and Route 15. South of Broad Run, the tornado regained strength and destroyed trees, firing branches into buildings, before heading into western Loudoun.
"It's on the higher end of what we usually see in this part of the country," said Steve Rogowski, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, noting that most tornados in the mid-Atlantic are F2 or below. "It doesn't take an F4 or F5 tornado to inflict a lot of damage. Even the smaller tornados can inflict damage and be life-threatening."
Fauquier emergency officials said another major tornado was spotted in Opal but caused little damage. They said other tornadoes touched down southeast of The Plains. Only minor injuries were reported, including two rescue personnel struck by flying debris while trying to help people reported to be trapped in a collapsed house near Remington.
As the storm approached Friday, Elizabeth Putnam, principal of M.M. Pierce Elementary School in Remington, was interviewing a prospective kindergarten teacher. Two more job candidates arrived just before a tornado bore down on the school.
Although nearby Liberty High School would usually serve as an emergency shelter, Pierce was closer for many affected residents. Nearly 80 people sought shelter in the school during the storm -- many whose homes were damaged, others who had simply been driving in the area.
Putnam said the school's parent-teacher organization would raise money to help families in Remington. "Right now, we're finding that people need money for the various odds and ends," she said.
She said that over the weekend, residents helped less-fortunate neighbors pull tarps over their exposed homes, salvage their belongings and grill food on barbecues.
In Loudoun, an F2 tornado touched down in the Ashburn area, and two less powerful tornadoes touched down in western Loudoun. The first tornado came into eastern Loudoun from Fairfax near Dulles International Airport and passed a half-mile from the National Weather Service's office in Sterling, where employees took cover in a concrete-reinforced "safe room."
The tornado then headed north, just west of Route 28, where 22 employees of a building in the Beaumeade Corporate Park were evacuated after their building was damaged and suffered a gas leak. The employees took shelter in a Loudoun County school bus, according to Mary Maguire, spokeswoman for Loudoun fire and rescue.
Seven buildings in the park suffered a total of $2.6 million in damages, said the Loudoun County Office of Emergency Management. The roofs of several buildings were damaged, air conditioning units were ripped out, one wall collapsed and two cars were driven into the side of one building.
In western Loudoun, an F1 tornado struck south of Hamilton in the Shelbourne Glebe Road area. Another tornado struck south of Lovettsville near Rickert and Rodeffer roads. Damage in those areas was estimated at $940,000.
-- LILA ARZUA and LESLIE SHEPHERD
Landfill Taking Debris
Disposal fees will be waived temporarily for residents bringing storm-related debris to the Loudoun landfill, including wood, siding, roofing materials, tree limbs, branches and other yard waste.
Residents must give landfill staff their name and address and sign a statement certifying that the waste is related to Hurricane Ivan. Residents who hire someone to dispose of debris also must provide the same information.
The landfill is at 20939 Evergreen Mills Rd. (Route 621), about four miles south of Leesburg. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
-- LESLIE SHEPHERD