LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — Families across northern Rhode Island are still recovering one year after a tornado hit parts of the state.
On October 23, 2018, an EF-1 tornado touched down in sections of North Providence and Lincoln, causing extensive damage with its top wind speeds between 90-100 mph.
The tornado hit the neighborhoods near Riata Drive in Lincoln the hardest, according to the National Weather Service. The winds were so strong that trees were snapped and uprooted, windows were blown out and shingles were peeled off of roofs.
Walking down Riata Drive one year later, one wouldn’t know a tornado blew through the tightknit community.
But those who live there will always remember the harrowing experience.
Jenny Coccia tells Eyewitness News she was home when the tornado blew through.
“Here we are a year later and anytime the wind picks up you are brought back to that time,” Coccia said.
Coccia said the tornado uprooted 50-60 inch pine trees in her yard, which came crashing down on her home while she rode the storm out in her basement.
“You heard glass breaking,” Coccia recalled. “My neighbor’s chimney flew off and into her house.”
Coccia’s neighbor, Rita D’Angelo, said she was “totally shocked” when she heard a tornado had hit her neighborhood.
“So unexpected, I have never experienced anything like that in my life,” she said.
Since the tornado, D’Angelo has had her roof replaced, chimney rebuilt, new windows installed and her house repainted.
“Thank god we are alive,” D’Angelo said.
Her son, Nicholas D’Angelo, arrived at his mother’s home on Riata Drive just minutes after the tornado blew through.
“I was overwhelmed by the destruction that was around here,” Nicholas said. “It looked like a war zone and there was nobody in sight.”
One year later, life is finally returning to normal for both families. They say they’re counting their blessings, knowing that while the tornado was, it could’ve been much worse.