Residents Remember 2002 La Plata, Md. Tornado

4:59 PM, May 21, 2013   |    comments
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LA PLATA, Md. (WUSA9) -- If anyone knows what the people of Moore, Oklahoma are going through right now it is the residents of La Plata, Maryland.

Back in 2002, a tornado nearly wiped the town out of nearly 9,000 residents. The memories so devastating, a lot of people can't bring themselves to watch the coverage in Oklahoma City.

It struck on a pleasant Sunday evening on April 28, 2002. Before that, the town was like any other town, immediately after, it looked like a bomb had been dropped on the downtown area.

"We lost all the water we had stored in all our tanks," said La Plata Mayor Roy Hail, who was the city councilman in April of 2002.

How much warning did you have?

"Very little, probably less than an hour," he said.

The twister killed five across three southern Maryland counties and 800 buildings were damaged or destroyed.

The mayor tells us that La Plata is now about 90% of where it once was. They also now have a regional warning system and all of those new structures have been reinforced in case another tornado heads this way.

What did you think when you saw the damage in Oklahoma City?

"It brought back the memories of what La Plata looked like, obviously the damage is much greater," Mayor Hail said.

Inside Casey Jones restaurant on Tuesday, WUSA9 found people who lost a lot 11 years ago.

"We lost electricity and then my husband and I got the two kids and got downstairs and lost everything upstairs."

The house was gone, destroyed.

Oklahoma tragedy is but a painful reminder to people here of how all can be lost in but a moment.

"I have the news on for a while and then I have to change it."

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