Weather service confirms tornado in Zebulon

Posted April 26, 2010

— The National Weather Service confirmed Monday that a tornado touched down in Wake and Franklin counties Sunday evening, toppling trees and causing minor damage.

The tornado, with a maximum wind speed of 70 mph, initially touched down at 8:05 p.m., near Zebulon, the weather service said, causing minor damage to a fast-food restaurant and other businesses in a local shopping center.

Cleanup under way after storms Cleanup under way after storms

There were no reports of injuries, and damage was minimal with the exception of a few homes in the area.

The storm then moved eastward for 3.5 miles before lifting off the ground east of N.C. Highway 39 in Franklin County. The weather service said it was unclear still if the tornado stayed on the ground for the entire trail because of difficulties assessing areas along the track.

A second tornado, believed to have damaged a storage shed and car port in Nash County, was actually straight-line winds, the weather service said.

Meanwhile Monday, Zebulon residents got their first clear look at storm damage.

A large tree fell in front of the Zebulon police station, police Chief Tim Hayworth said. A tree that was more than a century old fell in front of the town's municipal building.

Residents said the winds appeared to come out of nowhere.

Mike Ennis said he saw what appeared to a funnel cloud forming. It never touched down and went over his home, he said.

"It was pretty intense," Andrew Taylor said. "As soon as we come across our living room to our kitchen, the kitchen door swings open and debris – leaves and twigs are blowing."

Minor damage was reported in Spring Hope, where winds ripped apart a garage and flattened a storage building.

The chance for showers and storms continues into the early part of the workweek, Gardner said.

"We do have a front that's back to our west right now, that's going to come sweeping through the area this afternoon," she said. "Along with it, we can't rule out some scattered thunderstorms, and our air mass is still unstable, so we can't rule out some severe weather this evening."


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  • copforlife Apr 28, 2010

    "Weather service confirms tornado in Zebulon"....really, what did they think it was??????????

  • NoFreakinWay Apr 27, 2010

    good thing we got some rain this afternoon in the "viewing area", but for real forecasting, wral has 3 of the last 14 correct. yet, when you only get a 1/12th of an inch those 3 times, let me get this one for us,
    D R O U G H T!

  • cadetsfan Apr 27, 2010

    Yes, WHEEL, we certainly should not spend money on improving the accuracy of warnings of deadly weather. You are absolutely right.

  • WHEEL Apr 27, 2010

    "Supernick87" With the US in debt to everybody in the world with something to lend us, all this "real good idea" and "maybee someday" ideas that only the Government can come up with, just don't cut it anymore.

  • supernik87 Apr 27, 2010

    WHEEL, it makes a lot of difference. Each confirmed tornado provides a lot of data to researchers that hopefully one day can help the NWS predict where and when a tornado will strike.

  • WHEEL Apr 27, 2010

    What the heck difference does it make if it was a tornado or straigh line winds that blew someones stuff around the county. How much is the budget of the NWS and can't all this "offical verification effort" be better spent elsewhere?

  • cadetsfan Apr 27, 2010

    You all really need to take a deep breath. The NWS is required to (and does a very good job at) storm reports. They go back and deeply analyze very severe and winter weather, analyzing their own performance with warning time and forecast and nowcast accuracy (including false alarms or missed alarms), analyzing reports from the public, trained spotters, and radar, and analyzing the actual on-the-ground damage. Sometimes everyone's convinced that damage is due to a tornado, when in fact they were straight-line winds. These things are important. Your photos and videos are important, too, but they still have to go and observe...see the pattern of damage (twisting versus straight-line), etc., to confirm/deny the tornado, to determine the strength and exact path... This doesn't affect the rest of us in the least, it doesn't diminish your property damage or what you did/didn't see, and it doesn't diminish lives that could be lost -- it's just the NWS's method.

  • Journey985 Apr 27, 2010

    "I would like to know what took the nws and the news channels to give out the warning that there were tornados on the ground." VERY good point n4cer...I do believe the "criteria" for that is that they had radar conditions indicating that a "tornado" was probable. Even though WRAL was talking on the phone to people that were or just had witnessed an ACTUAL tornado on the ground RIGHT where the NWS and WRAL said it "could" be. But remember..we are all just a bunch of "laymans" and our cameras were all wrong.

  • n4cer Apr 27, 2010

    I would like to know what took the nws and the news channels to give out the warning that there were tornados on the ground.

  • Journey985 Apr 27, 2010

    Well, it appears that all the photographs by the "layman" as WRAL puts it does not count for anything until the NWS says it is a're all just imagining things...LOL. Thanks for clearing that up for me!! "Sorry folks...nothing to see here, NWS has not confirmed it's a tornado yet!!"