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Rebuilding continues 1 year after tornado devastates Mullica Hill

It has been one year since Tropical Storm Ida arrived in New Jersey. That storm also produced three tornadoes in the state.

News 12 Staff

Sep 1, 2022, 9:58 PM

Updated 660 days ago


It has been one year since Tropical Storm Ida arrived in New Jersey. That storm also produced three tornadoes in the state.
The worst of those tornadoes was in Gloucester County. People living in one neighborhood in Mullica Hill suffered greatly.
Homes along Salvatore Drive were torn apart while families hid in the basement. And now, one year later, the rebuilding continues.
Megan Battaglia has a constant reminder of that day tattooed on her forearm. Her tattoo reads “Stronger than the Storm, 9/1/2022.”
“I needed to have a constant reminder that, you know what? I’m OK. We’re all OK,” Battaglia says.
Battaglia says that one year ago she was home with her son Christian who kept asking what all of the tornado alerts on her phone meant – and what they should do.
“I said to him, ‘We go to the basement. That’s what this means.’ He was like, ‘Why aren’t we going?’ I said, ‘Let’s go,’” Battaglia says. “I was a mess, and he was the one rubbing my back saying, ‘It’s OK. We are all OK.”
When they finally emerged from the basement, they found that their home was destroyed.
“All of our belongings were thrown everywhere. Things were just destroyed,” Battalia says. “That side of the house was blown off that night.”
One of two sheds was found in the pool and their prized possessions were gone.
The family was displaced for nine months. The house was gutted and rebuilt. All but the frame, front door and a bathtub are brand new.
The tornado destroyed many homes in the neighborhood. It looked like some homes were shredded. It displaced 39 families. Many are still displaced as the rebuilding continues. Some of the construction crews are siding and roofing, while some are still dealing with foundation.
Deputy Mayor Julie DeLaurentis says they’re still here to help, whether it’s in expediting a permit or helping with property taxes.
Meanwhile, the Battaglia family is one of only a few families living on Salvatore Drive. Megan Battaglia says she’s looking forward to her neighbor’s returning home.
“Throughout the year we all still brought our children to the neighborhood to get on the bus together. We’re very close it is sad because I miss them,” she says.
Battaglia and her son are still dealing with the effects of the tornado. They says that any time there is heavy rain or wind, they go to the basement because it has become a safe place.

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