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Dennis Spawns Tornadoes in Va.

September 5, 1999

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) _ A tornado packing winds up to 120 mph damaged an assisted living center, a nursing home and five apartment complexes on Saturday, injuring more than a dozen people and displacing as many as 1,000, authorities said.

Hundreds of residents of the Devonshire assisted-living center and the Wyndham, Township and Signature Way apartment complexes were evacuated in Hampton school buses to Red Cross shelters in nearby Ivy Memorial Baptist Church and Eaton Middle School.

More than 100 Devonshire residents later were transferred to Mayfair House, another assisted living center in Hampton.

Sandie Farrow, assistant administrator of the Devonshire home, said five residents were in the dining room when the tornado hit. They were cut by flying glass and taken to a hospital for treatment. The dining room was destroyed, she said.

Twelve people with minor injuries were treated and released at Sentara Hampton General Hospital, a spokeswoman said.

Frances Taycsik, 89, who has lived at Devonshire for four years, said she was talking on the phone when the tornado struck. ``... All of a sudden the windows opened and all we heard was a loud whish-bang. The girl on the phone said, `What was that?′ I said, `I don’t know but we better hang up.‴

The twister left up to 1,000 apartment residents without shelter.

Another tornado earlier damaged a barn and snapped utility polls in nearby Chesapeake, said Capt. Steve Johnson of the city’s fire department. No one was injured, he said.

NWS forecaster Tim Armstrong said the tornadic winds were spawned by Tropical Storm Dennis, which had hovered off the North Carolina coast for a week before blowing shore late Saturday afternoon.

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