Night storms damage dozens of buildings

Tornado and flood watches have been lifted across central North Carolina after a strong storm system moved over the region overnight Sunday.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Tornado and flood watches were lifted early Monday across central North Carolina after a strong storm system moved over the region overnight.

Late Sunday, violent storms ripped the metal roof off at least one building, damaged dozens of homes and knocked down countless trees between Charlotte and Greensboro, officials said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Gail Hartfield from the Raleigh office said there are initial reports of several injuries from the storms that blew through the Linwood area in southwestern Davidson County. She said 20 to 30 homes were damaged in High Point and a dispatcher in Thomasville said she had gotten a report of at least one home that caught on fire in that town.

Hundreds of lightning strikes have been reported, as well as high winds, hail and heavy rain. Tornado watches and warnings were issued throughout the night for several counties between Charlotte and Greensboro.

WJZY General Manager Shawn Harris said the storm blew trees down and caused damage to the Charlotte television station.

WCNC-TV reported that a resident of a mobile home park in the Belmont-Mount Holly area was taken to a hospital after suffering a heart attack. Hartfield said eyewitnesses have spotted several tornadoes, though none has been confirmed. She said the weather service would send out a team on Monday to investigate. Northern Georgia also was hit with heavy storms.

Duke Energy reported that about 11,000 people were without power as of 9:30 p.m.

Davidson County Sheriff David Grice said that the chairman of the Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency there. Grice said that the sheriff's office needed that authority to evacuate people from unsafe mobile homes.

The Charlotte Observer reported that much of the roof of the Parkdale Fiber Distribution Center in Belmont was blown off and ended up in trees, along with ribbons of yellow foam insulation. Trees were knocked down throughout the Belmont-Mount Holly area and elsewhere.

Mitch Carmichael told the newspaper he was in his mobile home when he felt the structure shake.

He says it "sounded like a mini-Hugo," referring to Hurricane Hugo that struck in 1989.


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