Minimal Storm Damage Reported in N.C.

Posted March 1, 2007
Updated March 2, 2007

— North Carolina avoided any major damage after a strong storm system moved throughout the southeastern part of the United States.

Heavy rain began falling Thursday night and continued through the overnight hours. Some parts of central North Carolina experienced sporadic power outages. Several schools are operating on a two-hour delay. Up-to-the-minute information is available on the .

The burst of tornadoes was part of a larger line of thunderstorms and snowstorms that stretched from Minnesota to the Gulf Coast. Authorities blamed a tornado for the death of a 7-year-old girl in Missouri, and twisters were reported in Kansas.

In Enterprise, Ala., Mayor Kenneth Boswell said eight teenagers were killed when a tornado struck a local high school. Officials said the a roof and wall collapsed at the school.

At City Hall late Thursday, anxious parents waited for news of their children. One man passed out when he was told his son had died, collapsing to the floor as a dozen people surrounded him. He regained consciousness a short time after, screaming for his son.

A counselor on hand said the man was a soldier slated to return to Iraq in June. His 16-year-old son was an honors student who called his mother on his cell phone five minutes before the storm hit to say they were being moved.

Tears and sobs could be seen and heard from others throughout the government building.

In the chaotic hours after the storm, as many as 18 people were reported dead. Officials later confirmed at least five were killed at the school, but declined to give an exact number late Thursday, saying the search was ongoing.

State emergency management spokeswoman Yasamie Richardson said miscommunication was to blame for the erroneous death toll.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at a church in Enterprise, where about 75 people spent the night, said Jeffery Biggs, executive of the Covington County chapter.

"For the situation to be what it is, it's going good here," said Biggs. "This is the biggest thing we've had in this region for quite a while."

Barbour Alexander came to the shelter after a tree came through the kitchen of the home she shares with her husband and children. They couldn't return home because of a gas leak.

"It blew the whole porch out," Alexander said.

A tornado watch was in effect in 16 counties in eastern South Carolina until 8 a.m. Friday as strong wind and driving rain swept into the state. The worst of the weather was expected to move off the coast by about sunrise.

No tornadoes had been reported, but a wind gust of 56 mph was reported in Columbia in the overnight hours.

At least 25,000 customers lost electricity at some point as the storms moved across the state, mostly in the Columbia area.

The tornadoes were the second to devastate a portion of the South this year. In early February, tornadoes ripped through a 30-mile path in central Florida, killing 21 and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.

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  • packandcanesfan Mar 2, 2007

    I am very thankful that we didn't have to deal with what Alabama and Missouri did. We are fortunate. So sad for all the loss in those states.

  • computer trainer Mar 2, 2007

    boit62283, my Dad was stationed in Ft Rucker years ago. Enterprise is a nice little town. I am sorry that you have to be there during this. I am sure that the Post is doing all that they can to help the town folks out. That is what it is like when you live as a military person in a small town. I have been praying for Enterprise since I heard about this. My parents loved that little town.

    Hope that your training goes well, and you get back home soon.

    The rest of you, you are too funny. Of course, it was mostly from nerves as we all sat here wondering if we would hit the news next. We appear to have been fortunate. Maybe a few vehicles damaged, a couple of homes that will need some repairs, but it appears that our citizens still have their lives and that is what is important at the end of the day.

    Love to all!

  • ProudArmyWife Mar 2, 2007

    boit62283: My prayers are with you and everyone else in Enterprise. We were there this time last year in flight school also and were there when Katrina hit part of Alabama. I can only imagine what you guys experienced today but am glad you are safe and praying for those families who have lost loved ones. Be safe and thank you for your service. God Bless! ARMY STRONG WIFE!!

  • RonWhite4President Mar 2, 2007

    what storms? just drizzled in raleigh from what i witnessed. no problem driving either

  • Snoopy Mar 2, 2007

    YAY!!! Daddy was right! It wasnt bad at all! I survived! And my prayers go out to all those who lost loved ones or had any other damage by this massive monster!

  • 1Raleigh native Mar 2, 2007

    my brother's car got flattened in Wilmington... Dont consider that minor...

  • North Carolina Native Mar 2, 2007

    good riddance bad storms!

  • Troop Mar 2, 2007

    I guess Bush is driving this storm too...

  • Pandoras Box Mar 2, 2007

    leaveNC - if posting on here means we have nothing better to do then why did you post?? Just a thought.

  • BLA BLA BLA Mar 2, 2007

    leaveNC said. "Don't you people have anything better to do than to post to all these stories? Get lives people!!"

    uh oh, looks like somebody missed snacktime.