Local News

Severe weather damages homes in Hoke County

Posted May 16, 2010 4:41 p.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2010 11:05 a.m. EDT

— Strong winds damaged several homes Sunday evening in Hoke County, part of an outburst of severe thunderstorms that crossed south-central North Carolina between 8 p.m. and midnight.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Cumberland and Hoke counties around 8:30 p.m. as conditions became favorable for strong winds.

"We really didn't have a lot of severe weather Sunday night," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "That one downburst did a lot of damage in Hoke County."

"I heard the roar," said Chris Jacobsen, of Raeford. "I honestly thought it was a tornado when I stepped outside."

Jacobsen said a grill and pump house were picked up by the wind and blown across his property. A 100-year-old oak fell on his house, but he was unharmed.

Residents of Willow Trace mobile home park, on Carolina and Cardinal drives, were forced from their homes when the winds roared through just after 8:30 p.m., Barry Porter, regional executive director of the American Red Cross, said.

Mike Russell, spokesman for the Highlands Chapter of the Red Cross, said 15 homes in the community sustained damage, and one was "obliterated."

Rosetta Holliday, 75, was sitting on her bed when the winds blew down her home, at 104 Carolina Drive. She said God provided the pathway for her to crawl to safety.

She was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, and was released early Monday to survey the damage.

"God kept me safe and alive and well, and I thank him," she said, noting that there wasn't a scratch on her.

Dozens of people from Willow Trace spent the night at a Red Cross shelter at East Hoke Middle School, at 4702 Fayetteville Road.

The threat of isolated rain showers and embedded thunderstorms continues through Monday evening across central North Carolina, WRAL meteorologist Kim Deaner said.

The storms could produce gusty winds, hail and occasional lightning.