Update: Bertie County Tornado Damage

A Bertie County man is counting his blessings after being picked up and tossed around during Sunday's tornado.

Falk Lassiter says he stepped out of his home when the storm hit and could not believe what happened next. "I didn't think I was going to be next. As soon as I stepped back in the house it took me and shook the trailer and my girlfriend. I was airborne. I think i was caught in a vortex or something I slammed into the ground." Lassiter then crawled over to his girlfriend. Both were taken to the hospital. His girlfriend remains in stable condition. Lassiter's home is destroyed and his dog died in the storm.

Storm victim John Gilliam says the tornado sounded like a freight train. " I could feel the floor just rumbling. The loud noise came over and debris started blowing."

National Weather Service officials say an E-F2 tornado touched down three different times along about a 25 mile stretch causing millions of dollars worth of damage.

Sunday Tornado Damage In Bertie County

Preliminary estimates show at least $2.5 million in damages from last night's storm that struck Bertie County.

The National Weather Service says an EF-2 torndao touched down in three different locations yesterday.

Emergency crews were out this morning accessing damage from last night's tornado which hit around 6:30 p.m.

Ricky Freeman, Bertie County Emergency Management Director tells WITN News that 50 structures were damaged by the twister. Crime Control & Public Safety says 9 people received minor injuries from the storm.

Freeman says the Luella Baptist Church on Coniotte Road sustained severe damage with the front half of the church destroyed.

The storm took almost the same path that one did in 1984 which killed 8 people in the county.

Emergency management says all roads in Bertie County are now open, except Piney Woods Road, which was in the worst hit area.

The storm hit near Lewiston Woodville. Numerous trees are down. Cars and larger vehicles were tossed around. There are reports of grapefruit to softball size hail.

Bertie County Schools closed Monday because of the damage and power issues.

If you snap any storms pictures, we hope you'll click on the Carolina Capture link and submit them. The Carolina Camera link is on most witntv.com web pages, just look for the camera icon. Make sure to tell us at least your first name and where the photo was taken.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by jw Location: bertie on May 13, 2008 at 09:44 AM
    the governor has just left bertie county... can we please have some coverage of that please? i consider that to be breaking news also...and thank you for your coverage so far of our county.

    EDITOR'S COMMENT: We have a crew covering the governor's visit. More tonight at 5 & 6.
  • by JUNE Location: COLERAIN, NC on May 12, 2008 at 08:57 PM
    now, there was some damage happened in colerain but it wasn't severe. the most part, we were without electrical power or cable/internet power..dependimng on where you lived in colerain. i lived on hway 42 and i saw all the hail..looking like golf balls, falling down. i just thank God we didn't have any more damage than that.
  • by Marlina Location: Aulander on May 12, 2008 at 02:11 PM
    I went sight-seeing today to see the damages that were caused by the tornado yesterday and earlier this week. My heart goes out to those people who were affected by the tornado in the area. My family and I are so blessed not to have any damages ourselves because we were only a few miles from where the tornado landed. However, this is a praying time and I will keep those people in my prayers. I have taken several pictures and will try to post them.
  • by mjb Location: windsor on May 12, 2008 at 10:47 AM
    Luella Baptist Church is on Connartisa Road, not Coniotte Road.
  • by In reoponse to Bobby Location: Askewville, NC on May 12, 2008 at 10:29 AM
    Bobby, there was no damage that I saw in town. Most of the damage in Lewiston was down the Piney Woods Rd, the Moore Road, and the Connarista Road near Luella Baptist Church. I road down Church Street last night and didnt see any damage there. However just past where you turn to go down Piney Woods Road, EMS had the road blocked all the way down to Perdue, they said there were several light lines down. Hope this makes your day
  • by Jasmine Location: Kelford on May 12, 2008 at 09:40 AM
    soon they said the Tornado it was already to late to go to a safer place.
  • by Markus G(WHS) Location: Williamston on May 12, 2008 at 08:58 AM
    Well I have plenty of friends that stay in bertie county... I got alot of text messages saying that their WAS a tornado..... I just hope everyone is ok.....this make the second time their schools has been closed down due to natural disasters.
  • by bobby Location: lewiston,nc on May 12, 2008 at 08:26 AM
    I have home on 406 west church street and wandering if it is still in tac i live in medley,wv.if you got any imput about this address or pictures please contact at bojinkles@yahoo.com
  • by anonymous Location: Ahoskie NC on May 12, 2008 at 05:13 AM
    Justed wanted to know if a tornado touched down here. I have not heard that one touched down. I have had some phone calls saying that som of the other news channels are saying one touched down. Could you let me know if one touched down or not. thank you.
  • by Anna Location: Windsor on May 12, 2008 at 04:39 AM
    Nick, I live in Bertie County. We received two messages from the school system last night. One: telling us that two of our elementary schools had damage including several school buses and the second telling us that the damage county wide was worse than they thought so they were closing schools. You have to realize that we are a small, rural county with dirt roads and most of our county is socio economically low income so there are many people that live in homes that are not structurally sound. I would hope that you would keep our county in your thoughts and not critique the news station that is a "lifeline" to our area. I have been a loyal WITN viewer since I was 3 years old. They are a good news station.
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