Search and rescue operations still ongoing

by Kim Robins - Posted on Apr 17, 2011 - 04:30 PM

At a noon press conference Sunday, Gloucester Sheriff Steve Gentry said search and rescue was still being conducted in the hardest hit areas in the wake of Saturday night’s tornado, although there were no reports of missing persons.

He said those efforts are continuing because so many residents are still without power. He confirmed that, as of Sunday, there were three fatalities, but did not release the names of the victims.

Gentry said the tornado first entered the county in the Coke area near the public boat landing at about 7 p.m. Saturday and stayed on the ground until hitting Page Middle School. He said it then started skipping and ultimately impacted an eight and-a-half-mile stretch of the county.

Gentry said the hardest hit areas, the Coke neighborhood and the Glen Roy Estates subdivision in Ware Neck, have restricted access for the next 24 hours. He said a decision had not been made whether to issue a curfew in the affected areas Sunday night. He said some homes have been destroyed, several have been damaged and several areas of the county are likely to be in the dark for sometime.

No school Monday

Also during the conference, Gloucester Public Schools superintendent Ben Kiser announced there will be no school countywide Monday to give affected families another day to recover. Other than the destruction at Page, he said the eight other county schools appeared to be unaffected.

Kiser said a plan for housing the 580 displaced Page students would be announced Monday after he and his staff had time to confer with school board members. "It would be helpful if we can keep those children together," he said.