By Outer Banks Voice on April 26, 2014
Three separate tornadoes sliced through northeastern North Carolina Friday night, the National Weather Service has confirmed, damaging dozens of structures and causing several injuries.
One touched down in the Mount Hermon area of Paquotank County north of U.S. 17. The weather service said damage indicated the twister was an EF2 with wind speeds of 111 to 135 mph.
A second tracked south of U.S. 17, heading northeast into Elizabeth City near the Peartree Road area, with EF1 intensity of 86 to 110 mph.
The third, also an EF1, was to the south and paralleled a section of Nixonton and Body roads in Pasquotank County.
Significant tornado damage was also found in Perquimans County.
Assessment teams reported that 13 homes were destroyed and 17 sustained major damage, with many others seeing significant damage, Christie Saunders, director of Pasquotank-Camden Eemergency Management, said in a statement Saturday.
Dominion Power reported electricity should be flowing by midnight Sunday to 3,100 customers without power in Pasquotank County, the statement said. Elizabeth City Public Utilities reported that about 4,000 customers were without electricity Saturday, and for some residents , power might be out for several days.
This afternoon, Weeksville Road between Herrington Road and River Road/Pitts Chapel Road was closed to all except local and emergency traffic.
Chowan County saw the most damage in the Thick Neck and Macedonia communities. A more detailed report on damages will be issued Sunday, a statement from the county said.
Earlier, Perquimans County Sheriff Eric Tilley said at least 10 homes had been destroyed, while there were several calls for assistance in the Harvey Point area.
Storms also caused heavy damage in Beaufort County, where as many as 100 structures were damaged or destroyed.
State emergency officials said there have been no reports of fatalities, but 18 people were injured across eastern North Carolina during the storms. None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening. Fifteen were in Beaufort County, with three in Pasquotank County.
Widespread tree damage was first reported by emergency management in Chowan County around 7:35 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
The weather bureau said the 911 call center in Pasquotank County reported a tornado was spotted near Rabbits Corner along Halls Creek Road at 8:07 p.m.
Radar images at 8:10 p.m. show what is possibly a tornado passing just over southern Elizabeth City, with rain bands swirling in a comma shape.
A thunderstorm wind gust of 64 mph was recorded at Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City at 8:15 p.m., just south of where mobile homes were damaged in a neighborhood along Peartree Road, while there was also damage reported in a mobile home park on River Road.
One resident near Elizabeth City State University said the winds were so strong a 300 pound set of French doors in his backyard were picked up and tossed across the yard.
He added that his girlfriend’s car in Camden was picked up at the front end by the wind and then set down.
The roof of one building on the ECSU campus was also reportedly blown off, while an 18-wheeler was pushed into several parked cars at the Walmart shopping center on Halstead Boulevard Extended.
In Currituck County, a shed was blown onto U.S. 158 in Barco, several houses were damaged by falling trees in Corolla, and there were multiple trees downed on Waterlilly Road in Coinjock.
A home on Harbinger Ridge Road was engulfed in flames around 9:30 p.m. after it was reportedly struck by lighting, but other details were not available.
Chowan County officials said in a news release that damage had been found in two areas, including the Macedonia, Wildcat and Houghton areas.
Dominion Power said roughly 3,900 customers in northeastern North Carolina were without power as of 9 a.m. Saturday. The highest concentration of outages was in Camden, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.
Other than a house fire caused by lightning in Rodanthe on Friday evening, for the most part Dare County was spared the brunt of the severe weather.
The Pasquotank County landfill will be open Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the Convenience Sites will operate on their regular schedule.
Citizens needing assistance should contact Pasquotank-Camden-Elizabeth City Emergency Management at 252-338-0935.
Tideland EMC employee Walter O’Neal captured aerial footage of the Beaufort County tornado damage in the Douglas Crossroads/U.S. 264 area of Washington.
More aerial photos of Whichards Beach and Asbury Church Road damage in Chocowinity from Tidelands by Chris Smith and Thomas Burbage with pilot Sid Cayton. (Click on an image for slide show)