Damaging Storms Strike Across Central North Carolina

Apr 20, 2019

Multiple storms struck more than a half dozen counties in the central part of the state Friday, causing damage to hundreds of houses and commercial structures, but causing no deaths or serious injuries.

Storms and damage were reported in Orange, Chatham, Sampson, Moore, Wilson, Northampton, Edgecombe, and Halifax counties,

"I know this has been a frightening time for a lot of people, but the thing that I have heard is the deep gratitude that no one was seriously injured," said Governor Roy Cooper during a tour of Maple View Farm in Orange County on Saturday. "You look at the power of this storm and how it could have caused so much devastation over a long period, to have no one hurt is a great thing."

Cooper toured the dairy farm with owner Roger Nutter. They surveyed the damage to three buildings, two of which were demolished. One employee and one cow were slightly hurt, but there were no major injuries.

At the Agricultural Education Center next door, the outside play structure was demolished, smashed into three separate pieces strewn yards apart. Many trees snapped, but none of the 12 educational animals that live in the backyard were hurt.

"It’s pretty heartbreaking, to see things one minute everything is nice and great and the next, you’re left with this," said Allison Nichols, the director of the Agricultural Education Center. "Especially something that kids like to come here and enjoy, that means so much to people in the community."

A storm-damaged vehicle in Orange County.
Credit Graham Youngblood / WUNC

A few miles away, in White Cross, trees were knocked down, damaging numerous houses and vehicles. Residents and others gathered Saturday morning to begin the process of cleaning up and assessing the extent of the damage.

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood told Governor Cooper that preliminary reports indicated the possible tornado traveled from Wildcat Creek in southwest Orange up to I-85, a roughly 10 mile run.

Orange County Emergency Services reported 16 homes damaged, most roads re-opened, and no major injuries.

The National Weather Service is working to confirm tornadoes.