August 28, 2012

Hurricane Irene: One year later

By Andy Jenks

Hurricane Irene raced up the east coast one year ago on August 27.

In the U.S., 56 people were killed by the storm – which also caused roughly $15 billion in damage.

In Richmond, some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods were torn to pieces.

Norman MacArthur has a new ceiling, new walls, and new floors – all part of the somewhat new house he bought on Westover Hills Boulevard, back in May.

ANDY: “At the time, did somebody tell you everything about the house, or did you already know it going in?”

NORMAN: “Well, the funny thing about it is, I walked in the door and the first thing I see is that picture I showed you downstairs.”

That picture showed would-be buyers a disaster scene, courtesy of Hurricane Irene, whose damage made all kinds of news one year ago.

At Norman’s house, the entire slate roof was sliced off.

“It was terrible. But it didn’t stop me from loving the house, and the neighborhood,” said Norman.

Norman would move in ten months later, beneath a new slate roof.

“And you can actually, if you look up, see where the original brick was, and where the new brick starts,” he said.

The reconstruction is just as astounding in North Richmond’s Bellevue neighborhood, where a fallen tree nearly split one home in half. One year, and several hundred thousand dollars later, it looks like new again, and the family who lives there has finally returned.

Back in Westover Hills, an uprooted tree that left an enormous crater is gone, replaced by fresh landscaping, new fencing, and a new sense of respect for the power of mother nature.

“You look at a beautiful day like this and you hope something like that wouldn’t happen again. Knowing were we live, we’re kind of in the belt of the storm’s path,” Norman said.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

Hurricane-Irene one year later


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