- Associated Press - Saturday, August 8, 2020

DOVER, Del. (AP) - As Tropical Storm Isaias tore through her Dover neighborhood, Helen Foreman’s first reaction was to run to the basement of the Westview Terrace home she’s lived in since the early ’90s.

A tree had crashed into the back of her home, and she didn’t know what would happen next. She waited in the basement with her grandson and great-grandson.

She didn’t come upstairs for two hours, fearful to see the damage to the home she once shared with her late husband and now shares with other family members.

“If this is what it’s going to be like when God comes, I don’t want to be here,” she said. “It was horrible.”

Foreman’s granddaughter, Veronica, was working as the storm passed, but all she could think about was getting home to her grandmother and her daughter.

When she arrived, she was stunned.

“It’s like the twilight zone,” Veronica said. “I was freaking out.”

A suspected tornado rolled through their Dover neighborhood Tuesday as Tropical Storm Isaias passed through Delaware and tore numerous trees from the ground, slamming into houses and cars. A Milford woman was killed when a branch fell on her after the storm.

Tuesday evening, residents walked the apocalyptic scene and checked on each other. Helen Foreman said no one was going to a hotel for the night and everyone was “sticking together.”

Much of Delaware’s capital city was still without power late Tuesday, including businesses and traffic lights.

Residents like the Foremans and the rest of the Westview Terrace neighbors were likely to see widespread delays in power returning as Mark Hoffman, public information officer for the Dover Police Department, said the city’s resources were “spread thin.”

Hoffman said no injuries or fatalities were reported in Dover, a favorable result when looking at the damage to Westview Terrace and north of Dover’s downtown at the Greens at Cedar Chase Apartments, where at least a dozen trees fell around the complex, crushing cars and hitting the residential buildings.

Two Dover buildings were condemned: William Henry Middle School on Carver Road and Union Missionary Baptist Church on Lincoln Street.

“It’s with the grace of God that no one got hurt,” Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said.

Christiansen declared a state of emergency early Tuesday morning and Delaware Gov. John Carney declared a statewide emergency later Tuesday afternoon.

More than 3 inches of rain fell in Dover on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service, and sustained wind speeds topped 60 mph.

According to the National Weather Service, a tornado touched down in the Kent County community of Sandtown near the Maryland state line at 8:30 a.m.

Less than 30 minutes later, another funnel was witnessed by several people in Dover.

That’s around the time Helen Foreman fled to the basement.

“All I could hear is, ‘bang bang, crack crack,’” she said.

The Dover Post contributed to this story.

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