Local News

And the Cleanup Begins

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PILOT — April 21, 1996, 11:34 a.m. EDTEven as many North Carolina residents picked through the debris left behind by last Monday's tornados, severe weather buffeted the state again Saturday evening -- but with less disastrous consequences.

Saturday's line of severe weather invaded like a military assault deployed across multiple counties -- in a swath from mid-Virginia, cutting across the Carolinas and into central Georgia. The vigorous storms were spawned by enormous energy in the upper atmosphere. About 6 p.m. North Carolina's Research Triangle area was feeling exceedingly the effects of heavy winds and a rain so vigorous it washed the coating of spring pollen off many cars.

A bit to the west, northern Orange and Alamance counties reported that 3/4 inch hail accompanied their storm front. And a tornado reportedly touched down in south Winston-Salem. Power was interrupted there.

In the far western part of the state, a pickup truck was blown over an embankment in Sylva and thunderstorms toppled trees. Just south of Transylvania's county seat of Brevard, several mobile homes reported wind damage.

Meanwhile, for people in the Franklin County town of Pilot it's been clean-up time. Neighbors are pitching in to help neighbors hard hit by last Monday's tornados; some volunteers have come from as far away as Connecticut to help.

People are sifting through their belongings to see what can be salvaged. Victims who lost just about everything have been stopping by some help centers to pick up household goods and clothing. Donations have been coming in at a fast clip, encompassing everything from clothing to linens, toys, pots, pans, and kids' games.

Backhoes, rakes, shovels and carts full of rubble are a common sight in Pilot as people clean up the mess left by the storms. Where damage to homes and businesses is extensive, there is nothing to do but burn the already-broken debris.

To help, contact the American Red Cross at 919-231-1602 or 1-800-989-2721. Wake County Opportunities is also helping with victims of Monday's tornados that touched down in Zebulon. Their number is 919-365-6826