NWS Confirms Small Tornado In Tyrrell County

The National Weather Service confirms that a tornado destroyed a man's mobile home early this morning outside of Columbia.

Tyrrell County Sheriff Darryl Liverman says the tornado hit a mobile home park around 4 a.m. and moved one mobile home 50 yards from its foundation. One man was sent to the hospital.

Steven Spruill says he heard loud winds around 4:30 a.m. and the next thing he knew he was thrown everywhere. He received a broken shoulder from being tossed around.

The 30-year-old Spruill was able to crawl out of his home and didn't realize he was hurt until he got to his sister's home. "The ceiling was down on me, and the TV and bed mattress, I was pinned under it and somehow the Lord gave me the strength and I lifted everything up and I crawled out," Spruill told WITN.

The National Weather Service says it was a small tornado that briefly touched down. Because it was on the weaker side of tornadoes, the twister was very hard to detect the rotation on radar.

Sheriff Liverman says Spruill's home was the last one in a row of about eight in a mobile home park on Basnight Lane, about two and half miles south of Columbia. His home was the only one impacted. Amazingly, Sheriff Liverman says only one other home lost power.

There was also reports of wind damage around Chocowinity in Beaufort County. Emergency managers there are visiting the damage this morning.


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  • by Really? Location: DC on Sep 30, 2011 at 06:08 AM
    Radar did not detect this tornado because Tyrrell county is what about 100 miles from Newport (location of the NWS Radar). At that distance, the beam shooting approx 4-6 KM into the sky (due to the linear pulse of the radar and the curvature of the earth). Since this storm was most likely not very tall and the rotation was below the radar beam, the NWS most likely did not see any rotation on this storm and thus did not warn on it. Also, it was a short lived tornado and given that the radar scans take 4-8 min to complete to see the entire atmosphere, it very well could have occurred during a new scan and was just simply not detected. The TV meteorologists do not have any call in issuing warnings, they are issued by the NWS offices and passed along by the TV media. This is mainly done so that there is ONE source of warnings as opposed to WITN saying TORNADO, and WNCT saying "meh nothing to worry about".
    • reply
      by thanks on Sep 30, 2011 at 01:47 PM in reply to Really?
      i think the nws needs to improve on that then--thats like saying 'sorry, youre out of our range, so just remember to listen for that roaring train sound'.
  • by cherie Location: gumneck on Sep 30, 2011 at 04:04 AM
    good for u tall man(?) , u gave God the credit for saving your life and helping you. We r all still blessed by the best.
  • by WxNut on Sep 30, 2011 at 01:19 AM
    I am so glad Mr. Spruill was able to make it out relatively OK, I know his shoulder has to hurt some kinda bad but at least hes alive! Thank God. As far as watches or warnings, yesterday was a typical summertime frontal passage of a closed upper level low that was cutoff from the jetsteam. As is common in summer, low level wind shear/helicity was virtually nonexistant yesterday and overnight over eastern NC, so a tornado watch would have been unreasonable to issue. This was not a large storm like those of April 16; this storm was part of a small broken line of storms, none of which showed low level mesocyclones on radar. Very hard to detect any rotation ahead of time with these mini-supercell storms. The NWS is persistant in telling us that any severe storm is capable of producing a tornado during maturity; although it can help so much when there is a warning issued, there are times when updraft rotation is so localized radar can't pick up on it at all.
    • reply
      by thanks on Sep 30, 2011 at 01:44 PM in reply to WxNut
      that was very interesting and helpful. i dont remember hearing anything about 'capable of producing tornadoes' in any of the weather reports. i think that if all storms are capable of producing tornadoes, it should be mentioned every single time (to cover the possibility of the localized rotation). im a few counties over from where one was, and we had a nasty storm--nothing on tv about any warnings. i imagine getting a confirmation after the fact is no consolation esp if you live in a mobile home area.
  • by up at this time on Sep 29, 2011 at 07:44 PM
    i was wide awake at this time checking the tv for storm warnings--i saw NONE. i saw several ominous looking clouds in washington yesterday afternoon--no mention of them becoming tornadoes on the news, but i and others saw circular moving cloud formations. i tried to dismiss this as 'oh im not a meterologist, if they dont report a tornado, we must be fine'. just goes to show. while i commend the weather teams for their usually thorough coverage, i felt like they dropped the ball in this case.
  • by JACKIE BRICKHOUSE Location: COLUMBIA .C. on Sep 29, 2011 at 11:25 AM
    MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE FAMILY WE HAVE BEE HIT HARD IN TYRRELL CO. WEHAVE PEOPLE THATLOST EVERY THING AND SOME WITH REALLY BAD WATER DANAGE. BUT THANK GOD WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY LOSS OF LIFE. THAT IN IT SELF WAS A MIRICLE FOR OUR COUNTY.
  • by Josh Bryan Location: Columbia on Sep 29, 2011 at 08:05 AM
    I seen a funnel cloud yesterday! My thoughts and prayers go out to the family that lost there home right here in Columbia last night!
  • by ctownnn Location: columbia on Sep 29, 2011 at 07:38 AM
    my friend lives next door to the house that got hit. and it definatly was a tornado.
  • by dena Location: roper on Sep 29, 2011 at 06:55 AM
    Hey nephew I am so glad that our survived this tragic ordeal. God had his arms around you.
  • by drake Location: phelps on Sep 29, 2011 at 05:27 AM
    my prays goes out to the family that lost there home last night , when will a picture be up ?
    • reply
      by hannah on Sep 29, 2011 at 07:31 AM in reply to drake
      Why don't you ride over there with some food and clothes and offer your help for this young man and you can see the damage for yourself.
      • reply
        by CritterLover on Sep 29, 2011 at 09:34 AM in reply to hannah
        That was snarky and uncalled for Hannah. Are you hustling to get over and help yourself? Those who live in glass houses are advised not to throw stones. He was just sending good thoughts and had curiousity, which is human nature.
        • reply
          by dee on Sep 29, 2011 at 10:29 AM in reply to CritterLover
          I don't think her remark was uncalled for. If drake really wanted to see the damage, why wait until WITN posted pictures.
        • reply
          by Hannah on Sep 30, 2011 at 08:49 AM in reply to CritterLover
          You say that as if you assume that I didn't? You know what they say about people who assume.
      • reply
        by Dav on Sep 29, 2011 at 09:53 AM in reply to hannah
        To Hannah: this was an uncalled comment for Drake, I don't think he meant anything ulgy as to what he said. You need to think before you write. BYH!
  • by Bob Location: Town on Sep 29, 2011 at 04:34 AM
    OK Just becaues you did not see it!!! It was here. Maybe it's time to update your Radar!!
    • reply
      by BLAH on Sep 29, 2011 at 06:07 AM in reply to Bob
      I agree.There is no doubt about it. That was a tornado.
    • reply
      by Hannah on Sep 29, 2011 at 07:30 AM in reply to Bob
      So true Bob!
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