One month after tornado residents still recovering

May 16, 2011 8:07:29 PM PDT
Residents are still recovering from deadly tornadoes that killed 24 people in North Carolina one month ago.

Large trees are still down, blue tarps are covering parts of damaged homes and residents are trying to rebuild lives that were destroyed in seconds.

"Previously, I could only see past this first house," Raleigh resident Car Harper said as he looked down his street. "Now, I can see down two blocks.

It took a tornado less than a minute to completely change the neighborhood Harper and his wife have called home for the past 25 years.

"It looks like a disaster area when you look back down through there," Harper said.

The 68-year-old lives on Venus Drive. The April 16 tornado hurled several massive trees onto his home, causing about $60,000 in damage. Harper lived through Fran but says the recent tornado has been much worse for him.

"Fran came through and blew a couple of trees down in my garage which, you know, didn't affect my living quarters at all, this just, is terrible in my living part area," he added.

Inside that living area, buckets are in place ready to catch the water that might leak through the tarps covering the damaged portions of his home.

"We've had to replace the tarps three times because the wind blew them off," Harper said.

The mere threat of a storm is enough to cause worry.

"Every time a thunderstorm comes through here what's gonna happen?" Harper asked. "Is it gonna blow the top off again, is a tree coming in?

Harper says he's thankful for all of the help he's received. He's hopeful that little by little he'll be able to rebuild. He says work on his roof is scheduled to begin sometime next week. It's an important step in what he knows will be a long process.

"For the total restoration, it could be months," Harper said. "It's kind of stressful, but it's improving. It's getting better. We've got to keep going."

Harper and his wife are sleeping on the lower level of the home because of all the damage. Harper says they also have a rental home on Glascock Street in downtown Raleigh that was destroyed by the storm.

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