Sunday, April 17, 2011

At least 10 dead in N.C. storms, 3 in Va.

RALEIGH, N.C., April 17 (UPI) -- Severe wind storms killed at least 10 people in North Carolina and three in Virginia Saturday, upping the two-day U.S. storm death toll to 30, officials said.

The National Weather Service said tornadoes were sighted in 19 North Carolina counties and it had received unconfirmed reports of at least 10 deaths in all, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported.

"More than likely we had eight tornadoes in North Carolina," Gail Hartsfield, an NWS meteorologist in Raleigh, said.

In Virginia, Mathews County Sheriff Steve Gentry said a tornado churned on the ground for 7 1/2 miles near Coke, leaving three people dead and more than 60 injured, the Newport News, Va., Daily Press reported.

The North Carolina and Virginia storm deaths came on the heels of 17 deaths in Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi, CNN reported.

The Observer and the Bladen Journal in North Carolina said the deaths included three people in a mobile home park in northeast Raleigh, three deaths in Bladen County, one in Sanford and another in Cumberland County.
"We got down in the bathroom, and we knelt down on the floor, and I was hollering and hollering," said storm survivor Brenda McClamroch, who lives in southwest Wake, N.C., with her husband Tenny. "It all happened in a split-second, and it was awful."

North Carolina officials said rescue teams were searching for people reported missing in Lee and Cumberland counties.

"There is still a lot we don't know tonight as we begin recovering from the most severe, widespread tornadoes we have seen since the mid-1980s," Doug Hoell, state emergency management director, told reporters at a news conference.

The Observer said one twister roared through Sanford, producing a mile-long path of destruction.
Roofs were torn off a Lowe's building center in Sanford and off the student center at Shaw University in Raleigh
One tornado destroyed four mobile homes near Micro.

Gov. Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency for North Carolina, WNCT-TV in Greenville reported. She also temporarily suspended the restrictions on work hours for utility workers so power lines could be repaired as quickly as possible and for truck drivers transporting supplies to affected communities and for the removal of debris.

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