Suspected tornado hits homes in Jones-Onslow county
Posted May 11, 2008 5:02 p.m. EDT
Updated May 11, 2008 11:28 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A storm system sweeping across the state Sunday evening brought the threat of gusty winds, heavy rain and isolated tornadoes.
A severe thunderstorm watch for the WRAL viewing area expired at 11 p.m.
Widely scattered thunderstorms moved east across southeast North Carolina late in the evening. Some storms produced large hail, strong winds and frequent, dangerous lightning.
In Carrboro, fire officials Sunday confirmed that a house fire during a round of heavy storms Friday night was caused by lightning. The blaze and water used to fight the fire at 1604 Pathway Drive did $200,000 in damage, officials said.
An official said high winds destroyed mobile homes Sunday in the Belgrade and Maysville community on the Jones-Onslow county line after a tornado warning was issued.
Patty McQuillan of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety said there was no immediate word on injuries. McQuillan said the Highway patrol estimated two dozen structures were damaged.
The state Department of Transportation has been called in to help remove debris on U.S. 17. Belgrade is on the highway between Jacksonville and New Bern. The National Weather Service said the winds hit about 6:45 p.m.
Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown told the Daily News of Jacksonville that a store was demolished in Maysville
Josh Reinijer is a Camp Lejeune Marine who was traveling on U.S. 17 when the storm came through.
"There's an old store that's been destroyed, sheet metal dangling from power lines, wood and debris everywhere," Reinijer said. "There was one house with a piece of sheet metal that went through the window of their house."
McQuillan said the state emergency operations center also had reports of trees down in Aulander and Lewiston in Bertie County.
Casey Quell of the National Weather Service office in Newport said the system hadn't left the state yet. As tornado warnings came down, many were replaced with warnings of severe thunderstorms.
"We're issuing warnings right and left," she said.
Observers across the state reported hail ranging from the size of a penny to a quarter, the weather service said.
Winds blew down trees and limbs that knocked out power to 985 Progress Energy customers in western North Carolina, the utility said. Duke Energy reported 732 outages in North Carolina.