SUFFOLK, Va. — Horses and other animals at Sully's Run and Equine Services border seemed calm Sunday morning, but it wasn't the same experience when a tornado blew through the barn on July 16.
"I just looked out the window and saw all this stuff blowing around," said Hans Peeters, who lives on the farm. "It sounded like a freight train."
Peeters and the other caretakers came out to the barn to find trees down throughout the land, their shed torn apart, and pieces of their fences broken down. Luckily, they say none of the horses were hurt.
"I didn't think it was going to be this bad," said one of the boarders, Lynne Jensen, who lived through Suffolk's 2008 tornado. "We got word there was damage at the barn and we ran out here as soon as possible."
Since the city of Suffolk didn't declare it a state of emergency, those in the slim margin of Elsa's path are paying for the damages. Jensen said while she understands not everyone was impacted by the storm, she and her co-workers feel left alone cleaning everything up. She said it would cost too much money to buy the dumpsters to get rid of all the debris.
"We definitely have a lot of fence work to fix. We had a run-in shed that is completely leveled. The roof is completely torn off the shed," said Jensen. "It would've been a lot to pay to have all of that picked up. It's frustrating not to get the extra help where you need it. We'll have to burn all of this wood in the Fall."
While there wasn't much more they could do to protect their farm from the storm, these caretakers say they will be there to make sure the horses are safe, after realizing the potential strength of a tropical storm system.
Sully's Run Equine Services also offers therapy to help people heal emotionally and mentally. The caretakers said they hope Mother Nature is kind to them before they start their services back up next season.