Wild storm rips across N.C.

Posted October 27, 2010 3:50 p.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2010 1:08 p.m. EDT

— The batch storms that pushed across the Triangle just after midnight Thursday was not nearly as fierce as those that sparked tornado warnings earlier in the day in Durham, Orange, Person, Granville and Warren counties, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

By 1 a.m., rain was falling in a north-south band parallel to Interstate 95 but severe weather was not in evidence.

Rain will taper off, end

The chance of severe weather and rain will taper off through the morning Thursday, and humidity will drop. Thursday's high will be around 80 degrees.

By Friday, the cold weather will have taken hold, and it will feel like fall again.

"Once we get to the weekend it looks nice. It's going to be much cooler," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "By Friday and Saturday, we're certainly expecting some pleasant weather."

Friday will be sunny and clear, with low humidity and a high around 63 degrees. Overnight Friday, temperatures will drop into the mid 30s, and frost could form Saturday morning.

Cooler, sunny weather will prevail throughout the weekend. Saturday and Sunday will see highs in the mid 60s to low 70s.

Trees down, buildings damaged

A tornado appeared to have touched down in Person County Wednesday afternoon and ripped the roof from a home on Apple Tree Lane south of Roxboro, said Brian Bowes, with Person County Emergency Management. Geraldine Nash, 73, was home with her dog at the time, but neither was hurt.

"The wind was just blowing and the house was just shaking," she said.

As the strong winds blew her home into pieces, Nash said she prayed.

"God brought me here," Nash said as she stood outside her damaged home.

Nash's daughter, Janette Johnson, also lives in the house. She got a call at work telling her a tornado had just hit her home. 

"I can't save anything. Everything is gone," she said.

The Red Cross is helping the family find shelter.

Downed trees were reported along Gordon and Hurdle Mills roads in Roxboro.

Person County Sheriff Dewey Jones said that he saw two funnel clouds. He saw one from his office toward the Yanceyville office, and when driving out to check on damage, he saw another funnel cloud about 5 miles east of Roxboro. Reports of a funnel cloud also came in from Denny's Store in Person County.

At one point, radar indicated winds between 80 and 100 mph associated with the storm system.

The roof of the White Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church, located on Carr Store Road in Cedar Grove, was blown off as an apparent tornado passed through the Orange County area. There were no reports of injuries.

"The church has been here for years and I don't want to just close it down because of this," said William Alston, pastor of White Oak Church for the last 13 years.

Cedar Grove Fire Chief Frank Berry said power lines, telephone lines and trees were down in the area.

The Granville County Sheriff's Office said there were multiple reports of damage, including downed trees,  in the city of Berea. On Elam Currin Road, two buildings were demolished, officials said. Deputies said strong winds pushed a truck about 20 feet, but did not flip it over.

On Joe Pruitt Road, emergency workers said the weather caused a mobile home to be shifted on its foundation.

In Vance County, strong winds tore the awning off of the BP Gas Station on Satterwhite Point Road in Henderson causing thousands of dollars of damage.

Vance County officials said the damage appeared to have been caused by straight-line winds or tornadic activity.