- The tornado damaged at least 50 homes, snapped trees in half and downed powerlines that left thousands without electricity.
- The tornado was spawned by the same ongoing winter storm that has draped the nation in heavy snow and ice.
- Another round of severe weather may be likely for the region as a second major winter storm travels from Texas to Maine.
Three people were killed in a tornado that tore through a southeastern North Carolina town early Tuesday.
The deadly twister, which authorities said also left at least 10 people injured, hit just after midnight Monday in southeastern Brunswick County near Grissettown in the Ocean Ridge Plantation community.
The tornado damaged at least 50 homes, snapped trees in half and downed powerlines that left thousands without electricity.
“It’s something like I have never seen before. A lot of destruction. It’s going to be a long recovery process,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said at a press conference Tuesday.
The tornado was spawned by the same ongoing winter storm that has draped the nation in heavy snow and ice, AccuWeather said.
All told, there were four reports of tornadoes on Monday and Tuesday from severe weather spawned by the storm, weather.com reported. Storms also damaged homes and other structures and left at least four people injured Monday in Florida and Georgia.
“Devastating damage to many homes, especially in the Ocean Ridge Plantation area,” the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.
As of late morning Tuesday, no additional injuries or deaths had been identified in North Carolina. All of those previously reported to be trapped in their homes because of debris have since been rescued.
“It was truly, truly a disaster last night,” Brunswick County Commission chair Randy Thompson said Tuesday afternoon, according to Weather.com.
“Public safety teams are finishing their review of the neighborhood and are supporting evacuation efforts for individuals who are displaced due to the storm,” according to a release from Brunswick County.
Winter weather: Millions still without power in Texas; more ice, snow coming
A survey team will be heading to North Carolina to find out more details about the tornado, said Dave Lowenthal, weather forecaster at the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office.
On Tuesday morning, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper shared his thoughts and prayers for the affected areas on Twitter: “At least three deaths, a number of injuries and damage to dozens of homes caused by a fierce tornado in Brunswick County last night,” he said. “I have spoken with Sheriff Ingram and County Commission Chair Thompson, and the state has sent help.”
AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said another round of severe weather may be likely for the region as a second major winter storm travels from Texas to Maine this week.
That second round may even threaten the same afflicted area from Monday night, he warned.
“Heavy, gusty thunderstorms are almost a certainty from the central Gulf Coast on Wednesday to the northeast Gulf Coast and the southern Atlantic coast on Thursday,” Sosnowski said. “Of these storms, a small percentage can turn severe with the risk of damaging winds and perhaps a few isolated tornadoes.”
Contributing: Emma Dill and Noah Johnson, The Wilmington (N.C.) Star News; The Associated Press