MIKE MOSS SAYS: Clarence, While there were eight reported tornado touchdowns in the recent event (which occurred on Friday Sep 14, 2007) each of the eight twisters was rated at EF-0 on the enhanced Fujita scale, representing a very minor outbreak in terms of impacts on life and property. There was some limited damage reported, but the outbreak pales in comparison to some of the larger ones that have occurred in the state. Fortunately, we are in an area where major tornado outbreaks are rare, but they do nonetheless happen here.
A couple of historical examples include tornadoes in our state associated with the Enigma Outbreak of Feb 19-20, 1884. Although the exact numbers are fuzzy when it comes to tornadoes and their ratings, there are reports of around 54 deaths in North Carolina, including 23 in the Rockingham area, 25 along a band between Rockingham and Cary, and 6 in Lillington.
On April 2, 1936, a group of four tornadoes in the state included an F4 that killed 15 people, mostly around the Greensboro area.
By far, the most major outbreak in more recent times was the Carolinas Outbreak of March 28, 1984. In that storm, 13 tornadoes occurred in North Carolina and took 42 lives in our state, along with causing hundreds of injuries. At least four tornadoes were classified as F4 and five as F3 during that event, representing a very intense system for this area.
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