WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

By the numbers: April 2011 tornado outbreak

Posted April 15, 2016

— The toll of the tornadoes that tore through the Tar Heel State in 2011 can be measured in many different ways.

There was a human element – two dozen people were killed and hundreds more were injured. There was also a financial toll in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Looking back at the numbers that still linger five years later:


Twenty-four people died in five different counties as the tornadoes pushed through. The hardest hit areas were in Bertie County, where 12 people died.

Four people were killed in both Bladen and Wake counties, including four children in a Raleigh community. Two people died in Lee County, and one person each perished in Cumberland and Harnett counties.

The oldest storm victim was 92-year-old Marchester Avery, who died in Bladen County. The youngest victim was 6-month-old Raleigh girl Yaire Quistian-Nino.

Yaire Quistian-Nino, tornado victim


The National Weather Service confirmed 30 tornadoes in the state on April 16, 2011, a single-day record. Tornadoes touched down in 33 of the state's 100 counties.

Bertie Co. Tornado Pictures

$328 million

Officials estimated the statewide storm cost at more than $300 million. About $172 million of that damage was caused by the tornado that touched down near Sanford and moved up the U.S. Highway 1 corridor through Raleigh.

That particular tornado leveled a Lowe's Home Improvement store in Sanford and destroyed dozens of homes in the City of Oaks.

Another $5.2 million in damage was caused by a storm that struck Ben Martin Elementary School in Fayetteville.

Ben Martin Elementary School Part 1


All across central and eastern parts of the state, homes were either damaged or destroyed. Debris lined some streets in Raleigh for weeks, and it took some homeowners years to rebuild.


From Earp's Seafood in Raleigh to an auto shop in Fayetteville, more than 100 businesses were also damaged or destroyed by the storms.

Lowe's Home Improvement Store


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