Farmer waits for NWS, insurance to measure storm's damage

Posted May 2, 2016

— As more spring storms marched across central North Carolina Monday, farmer Robert Richards was still cleaning up damage from last week's direct hit.

Thursday's storms ripped off roofs and brought down trees in Franklin County.

"We knew the forecast was what it was," Richards said, "but nothing you can do about it."

Triple R Farms took a direct hit.

"I'm glad nobody got hurt. That's the main thing," Richards said.

The buildings, the farm, the crops – that's where the damage is. He'll have to replant about half of his tobacco – his money crop – because the wind was too much for young plants in the field.

"It sounded like a jet engine, just a great roar of a jet engine of a plane taking off," he said.

The storm turned a 60-foot long metal building into "a big pile of trash in about two minutes."

While Richards is not certain whether his property was hit by a tornado, the damage tells the tale.

Jeff Lewis, Franklin County director of emergency services, said the designation doesn't matter to property owners faced with storm damage.

"Everybody says they heard a whistle, sounded like a train; Everybody is just walking around looking at devastated property," Lewis said.

The cost to rebuild will be high. While Richards has insurance, it likely won't be enough to cover all that he lost. And the answer he really wants will come from someone else.

"I just want someone from the (National) Weather service to tell me if it was a tornado or not. I just want to know. I just want to know," he said.


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