HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The devastation in Joplin is hitting way too close to home for a Henrico County family. They are originally from the tiny town in Missouri and moved to this area just two years ago.
Imagine, watching everything in downtown Richmond ripped apart from hundreds of miles away. That's what it was like for Lori Creek and her family. For several hours they couldn't get a hold of anyone and were left wondering whether their family survived the twister.
The destruction stretches miles. Cars and metal are wrapped around trees. Homes are obliterated. And for Lori Creek these are not just curious clicks on a few facebook photos, for Creek...Joplin is home.
"You can't do anything. You're 1100 miles away and what you can do? You can't just drive down there," she said.
She moved to Richmond with her husband, but her children and entire family are in that small Missouri city. Last night she spent three long hours waiting to hear from anyone.
"She called my aunts her cousins. With her cell phone my grandma's house, nobody would answer," said Hailey Packer, Creek's daughter.
"[It's] the most horrible feeling because you're sitting their thinking, 'Am I going to go to a funeral? What's going to happen?' It's just the worst feeling you can feel," Lori said.
Creek's sister finally called at 9:00 in the evening. They were alive but their home was gone.
"Their car is over here somewhere. It was laying on the neighbor's roof," she said.
And a longtime family friend, a 20 year old is missing. It's her son's best friend.
"They're all walking around looking for their loved one's, they can't find people and they're still just digging and hoping to find people alive," Lori said.
She's now trying to make out what's left of landmarks she grew up with....the hospital, the high school, restaurants, shopping centers. "It's heartbreaking just how many people were in there."
Every image a stark reminder how quickly it can all be taken away.
"Pray for them and hope that hope everyone is okay. And it could happen to us anytime. Love your family. Talk to them say you love them. And just make sure you stay close to them," said Creek.
The family was planning a trip home to Joplin in June, though with everything that's happened, they may head back much sooner to see how they can help.