Weather Service: Supercells produced 25 NC tornadoes
Twelve supercell thunderstorms produced at least 25 tornadoes across North Carolina on Saturday, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.Posted — Updated
The outbreak was the largest collection of tornadoes in the state in 27 years, according meteorologist Jeff Orrock with the weather service.
Many of the storms produced families of tornadoes, spawning one after another, Orrock said. Five of the tornadoes were EF3 storms, with wind speeds of 136 to 165 mph.
Eight more were EF2 tornadoes, with wind speeds of 111 to 135 mph. Another eight were EF1, with wind speeds of 86 to 110 mph, and four were EF0, with wind speeds of 65 to 86 mph.
The first tornado struck Union Ridge and Bethel Hill in Alamance and Person counties between 2 and 3 p.m. The Sanford-Broadway-Raleigh tornado tracked from Sanford through Holly Springs and Raleigh from 2:53 to 4 p.m. The Fayetteville-Dunn-Benson-Micro-Wilson tornadoes struck from 3:40 to 5 p.m. The Roanoke Rapids tornado hit at about 5:20 p.m.
Initial reports indicate more than 130 homes were destroyed and more than 700 damaged statewide, some severely. Gov. Beverly Perdue declared a state of emergency on Saturday, and she said she expects a federal disaster declaration by Thursday, clearing the way for affected residents, businesses and municipalities to apply for aid.
The disaster declaration would cover the 18 hardest-hit counties: Bertie, Bladen, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wake and Wilson counties.
“Many families have simply been devastated by these storms,” Perdue said in a statement. “As I visited with many of them during the past few days, I’ve pledged to them that we’re going to do all we can to help them get back on their feet as quickly as possible. In the meantime, I ask all North Carolinians to keep these survivors in your prayers, volunteer your time to help those in need and donate money or goods as you are able.”
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.