Local News

Rough Weather Rips Through Mobile Home Park

Posted May 26, 1998

— Some Johnston County residents will try to sift through what's left of their homes and possessions today.

Severe storms that tore through parts of North Carolina last night did the most damage to the Woods Mobile Home park east of Benson. Two mobile homes were flattened, and about 15 were damaged around midnight.

Residents escaped with only minor injuries. Wednesday morning, many of those residents began returning to their properties to sift through the remnants of their home. Morning shed light on just how lucky the families are to be alive. Last night, the storm took them by surprise.

"The trailer-- you could feel it pick up, shaking," resident Wade Tart said. "I thought that one was going to go, but it didn't."

Sandy Allgood decided to leave with her 11-month-old daughter just minutes before the storm hit. Most residents did not evacuate. One family took shelter in a bathroom and rode out the destructive wind and hail.

"I got my family in the bathtub," recalled park owner Ron Wood. "It began to hail so hard, I could not actually hear the wind itself. All we could basically hear was the hail beating down on the windows."

Officials say they think a downburst, not a tornado, caused the damage. Emergency management authorities believe residents will be allowed to stay in their homes Wednesday night if they so choose. While safety inspections proceed, the power to the park has been cut off.

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