Published: 2014-04-25 23:13:00
Updated: 2014-04-26 11:59:20
Posted April 25, 2014
Updated April 26, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Hail, wind and torrential rain lashed communities across central and eastern North Carolina Friday afternoon as a powerful cold front roared through the state, leaving behind damage in dozens of communities.
Storms formed quickly in the early afternoon, prompting the National Weather Service to put much of the eastern part of the state under a tornado watch for about seven hours.
As storms popped throughout the evening, severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were issued in several counties in the Triangle and Coastal Plain. By the time the weather quieted late Friday night, the National Weather Service had received 32 reports of wind damage, 36 reports of hail damage and nine reports of tornadoes.
Eighteen people were injured, although no serious injuries were reported, according to the state Department of Emergency Management.
Tornadoes were reported in Beaufort, Chowan, Greene, Halifax, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.
State officials said more than 100 homes were severely damaged or destroyed, with much of the damage being located in Beaufort County. Fifteen of the reported injuries also occurred in Beaufort County, where officials opened a shelter overnight to house residents who had lost homes.
Officials reported three mobile homes were damaged near the town of Chicod in Pitt County. Emergency Services Director Noel Lee said he had no reports of significant damage and no evidence of any tornadoes despite numerous reports of funnel clouds.
Authorities said there appeared to be two separate tornadoes in the Elizabeth City area.
Downed trees knocked out power in Franklinton and blocked the intersection of South Main Street and Vine Street.
Trained weather spotters reported a funnel cloud and Ping-Pong-ball-sized hail in Wayne County. Flooding caused damage in Weldon, near Days Cross Road, and golf-ball sized hail was reported in Durham.
A tornado was reported in Aventon, and storm spotters from Snow Hill to Goldsboro to Greenville and Wake Forest reported seeing threatening clouds and a lot of lightning.
Antonio Richardson saw his roof blown off his Halifax County home and into the nearby woods in the first batch of storms that swept through northeastern North Carolina between 4 and 5 p.m.
"I heard something like a train," he said.
Richardson and his friend were in the backyard when the storms hit. Both men were forced to hide under Richardson's mobile home.
"It peeled back my roof, just like you would a banana," Richardson said.
Other homes on Ita Road were missing shingles and the power was knocked out in the area.
Traffic lights in Raleigh were out at several major intersections, including Atlantic Avenue and Six Forks Road, the Wake Forest interchange with Interstate 440 and Old Wake Forest and Falls of Neuse roads.
On Friday night, more than 3,000 Duke Energy Progress customers were without power.