NWS confirms: Tornado swept through NC

Posted March 3, 2012 6:42 a.m. EST
Updated March 3, 2012 10:52 p.m. EST

— The National Weather Service confirmed that the high winds that whipped through parts of Mecklenberg and Cabarrus counties early Saturday were from an EF-2 tornado. The twister was on the ground for more then three miles, carving a path about 100 to 200 yards wide with wind speeds of up to 135 mph. It knocked down trees, pulled roofs off homes and left more than 1,000 Duke Energy customers temporarily without power.

The storm was part of a system that spawned deadly tornadoes in nine states across the South and Midwest Friday, damaging thousands of structures and claiming dozens of lives.

In Mecklenburg County, at least five people were injured. A spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety said the injuries were not life-threatening. Officials say nearly 90 homes were damaged. Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said he planned to ask for disaster aid.

In western North Carolina, the weather service confirmed a tornado struck Cherokee County on Friday evening. Officials say 25 homes and 15 businesses were damaged when a tornado with winds of up to 120 mph touched down. No injuries or fatalities are reported.

The central part of the state saw mostly rain Saturday morning, and storms tapered off significantly by early afternoon. Cumberland, Hoke and Sampson counties were under a severe thunderstorm watch until about 8 a.m. Saturday, but didn't see much in the way of strong storm activity, said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.

Partly cloudy skies return to the forecast Sunday as temperatures return to the mid-50s. By Monday and Tuesday morning, low temperatures will be back in the upper 20s and low 30s, Moss said.