Gloucester family of five takes cover in bathtub during storms

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jan 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-13 08:12:23-05

Gloucester, Va. – Michelle Pritchett says she did not think her family would make it out alive during this weekend’s storms.

“All we heard is just everything hitting the roof, stuff crutching, and the wind whipping, and it sounded like a freight train coming through,” said Pritchett.

Pritchett, along with her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons huddled in their bathtub during as the rain and wind came down Saturday on Pine Grove Road.

After the storm rolled through, Pritchett’s roof was caved in right on top of her bed. Insulation was pulled from the walls. Outside, there were trees uprooted, split in two like twigs, power lines twisted up like rope.

Big cleanups are something Gloucester is used to. Three years ago, in April, tornadoes ripped through the town leaving damage so bad that Page Middle School had to be completely torn down. The new school is still in the process of being built.

The damage three years ago is something Christie Matthews and her fiancé Danny Strother live with every day.

Matthews just like Michelle got her kids and covered them with her own body in the bathtub back in April 2011 when a tornado hit her house. Matthews broke her back. Strother is now paralyzed from the chest down.

“It is hard to come to grips with it because I was not born this way. I was 43 at the time of the accident…having to depend 100 percent on people, that is why it is hard,” says Strother.

Saturday was the first time Strother had heard the tornado sirens since April 2011.

“For the first time in three years I had an oozing feeling in my stomach, I don't know if I was scared for myself or the kids because they are 16 and 17 now, they are still effected,” says Strother.

As the most recent cleanup is just beginning those who have been there before say in the end it puts things in perspective and helps you remember what is really important.