UPDATE: NWS Confirms Tornado Touched Down In Western NC

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The National Weather Service says it was a tornado that damaged dozens of homes and injured at least 15 people in western North Carolina.

The weather service's forecast office in Greer, S.C., said Thursday that investigators confirmed the tornado with winds of around 115 miles an hour.

The storm system struck Rutherford and Burke counties Wednesday afternoon. At least 10 people were hurt in the Ellenboro community of Rutherford County, with five injures reported in Burke County.

Burke County Fire Marshal Mark Pitts says at least 16 homes were destroyed, and about 50 others damaged.

At least 15 people have been hurt in an apparent tornado that struck two counties in western North Carolina.

Meteorologist Neil Dixon with the National Weather Service in Greer, S.C., said the storms struck in Rutherford and then Burke counties late Tuesday afternoon.

Rutherford County sheriff's Sgt. Dwayne Wright said Wednesday morning that 10 people were injured in Ellenboro, two of them seriously. Wright did not know the extent of their injuries.

He says at least 10 buildings were damaged, but more details were expected Wednesday.

Dixon says five people were hurt when the storm struck in the Icard area in Burke County. He says officials initially estimated that 50 buildings had been damaged.

Forecasters planned to survey the area Wednesday to confirm the damage was caused by a tornado

Previous Story
January is the last month you would expect to read about a possible tornado in North Carolina, but according the National Weather Service, parts of the state had to take cover from a potentially tornadic situation.

In Rutherford County trees were toppled, power lines were snapped and significant damaged was caused to a mobile home park. In Ellenboro, NC emergency personnel had to airlift three people from the scene for medical treatment and structural damage left a family trapped in their basement in eastern Burke County.

The easterly moving storm begin in Ellenboro, NC Wednesday evening and eventually moved through a mobile home park causing the greatest destruction.

There was no immediate word of fatalities.

A team from the National Weather Service will be on scene Thursday to determine if the damage was caused by a tornado.

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  • by wow on Jan 12, 2012 at 07:35 PM
    thats an EF-2, a pretty strong tornado, especially in the winter time!!
    • reply
      by fforgot to mention.. on Jan 13, 2012 at 03:29 PM in reply to wow
      an EF-2 is a pretty strong tornado to have to have been confirmed AFTER THE FACT. I guess if you live in a little town, they dont care whether a tornado kills you or not. why weren't the weather people ON this???
  • by Anonymous Location: Dixie on Jan 12, 2012 at 08:22 AM
    When you get it all figured out let me know. I'm gonna build a bunker.
  • by Wants to help Location: Eastern NC on Jan 12, 2012 at 06:22 AM
    As a survivor of the April 16, 2011 tornadoes that toughed down in Eastern NC, I would like to help those affected by last nights tornado. WITN--could you please provide information as to how those that would like to help could help? A drop off point for donations, or where they may be sent?
  • by Really? Location: DC on Jan 12, 2012 at 05:48 AM
    It really sucks that politicians called it "global warming" as a way to advance their agenda b/c it was easier to explain to the masses by using that scare tactic scenario. The correct definition truly is climate change b/c it implies long term changes to the overall climate. (i.e more extreme, extremes - precip, warm, cold, sever weather, etc). Whether is it man made versus natural is a whole different conversation. The fact of the matter is that it IS occurring, but as for why, it is most likely nearly impossible to determine with 100% certainty.
  • by Al Gore Was Right? on Jan 12, 2012 at 12:58 AM
    Global Warming?
    • reply
      by Al Gore Is A LEFTloon on Jan 12, 2012 at 04:21 AM in reply to Al Gore Was Right?
      Was'nt it just last year at the global warming conference the entire continent of Europe was under snow?
      • reply
        by wow on Jan 12, 2012 at 07:38 PM in reply to Al Gore Is A LEFTloon
        global warming doesnt necessarily mean the globe is warming up, it means that because of the "homeostatic nature" of the planet, warmer temperatures will bring on more extreme weather. think of it--tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms are the earths way of cooling off. if we had no storms (involving precipitation of some kind), our earth would experience the greenhouse effect. just look at the planet venus.

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