Tree collapses on Suffolk garage with car and camper inside when tornado hits during Elsa

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 17:24:50-04

SUFFOLK, Va. — The Greene family was watching a movie Thursday night when they started hearing loud sounds. First, it was the howling winds; then, they got the tornado warning alerts on their phones.

“It got really quiet, and then the wind whipped up really fast,” explained Ean Greene.

Marie, Greene’s mother, says she heard shaking; then came a big boom. By that time, Greene says he and his girlfriend were taking cover in the laundry room of the house.

“I got out of the laundry room, saw that the garage was caved in, and we were like, ‘I don’t want to be the one to make the phone call to Dad,'” explained Greene.

A tornado whipped through the backyard of the Greene family’s home, taking out a large pine tree that collapsed on their detached garage. Inside of the garage was Greene’s father’s car and a camper.

It was one of two tornadoes in the city that night. At least five tornadoes touched down in Hampton Roads Thursday.

“The tree is actually laying on the roof of the car in there and on the camper, so I think that’s what’s keeping it from hitting all the way down,” said Greene.

The tornado touched down in the Kings Fork area of Suffolk, causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage for the Greene family.

“We really didn’t expect to get anything because it kind of was going to be a tropical storm — we weren’t expecting a tornado,” he said.

A SUV and another truck were damaged in addition to the car and camper inside the garage.

Their next door neighbors were also left with scattered debris and downed trees to clean up.

This isn’t the first or the worst storm the family says they’ve weathered. Nearly 20 years ago, a tree came crashing onto the roof of the house.

Greene says they’re just thankful to be alive.

“There’s material things in the garage, but the important thing, like I said, is that everybody is safe.”