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Summer Storm Damages Johnston County Crops

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SMITHFIELD — Tobacco farmers in Johnston County have been praying for rain. But when it finally came, some farmers found themselves worse off, instead of better.

"We had a wonderful crop. We worked hard and took care of it," said Fred Stancil. But one night of heavy winds, hail, and rain destroyed 16 acres of Stancil's tobacco crop, and left part of a barn in his front yard.

Workers spent the day in 100 degree heat trying to salvage what they could.

Stancil says the storm caused $100,000 in damage, including his crop, barn and the equipment inside.

"It's going to cost you twice as much to be able to save your crop because it's so mangled and tangled," Stancil said.

The lightning from the storm was very severe, and one of Stancil's workers says he was struck by a bolt. "He didn't feel nothing for 30 minutes," explained co-worker Sarafin Hernandez.

With the heat and humidity expected to continue, Stancil says all he and other farmers can do is hope for the best.

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Ericka Lewis, Reporter
Ron Pittman, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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