Today marks anniversary of deadly Davidson County tornado

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. — Friday marks one year since an EF2 tornado swept through Davidson and Randolph counties, killing a woman and her granddaughter in addition to leveling about 30 buildings. 

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, the tornado left a wake of destruction along a 12.5-mile path in central Davidson County.  National Weather Service officials said it was about 200 yards wide and lasted about 20 minutes, ending in western Randolph County.

Janice Shaw, 50, and Azlyn Shaw, 3, were killed when the tornado made a pass through Meadow Run Lane, packing winds of up to 135 mph. Azlyn’s body was found about 25 yards away from the family’s home, which had been stripped to its foundation. 

“The birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas; that’s going to be hard,” said Steve Shaw, Janice’s husband and Azlyn’s grandfather. 

Shaw says he sometimes pulls out a box of condolence cards he received from friends, family and strangers to read for comfort in addition to visiting his wife and granddaughters grave. 

“It puts me at ease, brings back the good memories,” he said, from his kitchen table.

But what he said keeps him going every day is his close friends and family, especially his grandchildren.

“You see this a lot on TV, but you never, ever thought this would happen to you,” Steve Shaw, Janice’s husband and Azlyn’s grandfather, said of the tragedy. 

The cost of damages was estimated to be between $15 and $20 million.  In addition to the 25 homes and five businesses that were destroyed, about 60 homes were significantly damaged.  More than a dozen of the damaged structures were in Randolph County. 

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