Cleanup begins after storms injure 14 in Sampson County
Posted May 29
Updated May 30
Clinton, N.C. — At least 14 people were injured and numerous buildings damaged late Monday as a result of thunderstorms that rolled through rural parts of Sampson County.
Assistant County Manager Susan Holder said two people were taken to local hospitals via ambulance and another was transported by a sheriff's deputy. Sampson County spokeswoman Susan Holder said none of the injuries were serious.
Authorities said they received multiple reports of downed trees, trees on houses and downed power lines in the area of Kitty Fork Road and U.S. Highway 421 in Clinton.
Holder said the damage transverses Clinton and crosses major highways, including U.S. 421 and U.S. Highway 701 in the Kitty Fork and Basstown areas.
Highway Patrol deputies said a structure on Junkyard Lane collapsed as a result of the storm Monday night and additional damage has been reported in the Roseboro and Salemburg areas.
On Basstown Road, winds caused a mobile home to flip over, roll and land near the road. Neighbors in the area said that a woman was inside the home at the time of the incident, but first responders were able to get her out. She did not appear to be seriously injured, neighbors said.
"She was walking and I don't know if it was shock that was keeping her going but she was walking," one neighbor said. "She was in the kitchen. She said she was holding onto the sink."
Holder said the county has received more than a dozen reports of flipped homes. A hog house and turkey farm were also destroyed.
According to Duke Energy, more than 1,100 customers were without power early Tuesday morning in Sampson County. Another 400 were without power in Duplin County. Duke Energy estimates power will be restored during the mid-morning hours Tuesday.
“There was a definite hail core that went through there but looking at the velocities, it’s a little more problematic to see what happened there,” said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.
Looking at weather data, Fishel said there was a storm cell that indicated the potential for hail and intensified as it moved east.
Looking at radar models from just before 11 p.m., Fishel said the models showed a thunderstorm with a strong updraft that was capable of producing straight line winds and small tornadoes.
"If this was a tornado, this is not what the radar in Morehead City was seeing," Fishel said. "This is a symptom of a very, very powerful thunderstorm."
“It would not be a signature that would jump out if me if I were to put warnings out,”Fishel said of the system. “The signature isn’t that impressive but that doesn'tt mean the damage isn’t significant.”
Last week an EF1 tornado with winds up to 110 mph touched down in Sampson County, ripping through the Autryville Fire Department’s firehouse and destroying several homes.