Weather service releases detailed report on path of tornadoes

From Staff ReportsApril 18, 2011 

The National Weather Service in Raleigh released two detailed reports this morning tracking the path of Saturday's deadly tornadoes in North Carolina.

The reports, written in chronological order, give detailed descriptions of the times the twisters hit, the estimated strength of the winds, the paths the storms took and the extent of the damage.

The weather service said the reports are preliminary and may change pending final review.

The first report details the storms that hit Sanford, Broadway, Holly Springs and Raleigh in Lee and Wake counties. The second report details the storms that struck Wayside, Fayetteville, Dunn and Smithfield.

Read the text of both reports below.

AT 253 PM EDT ON SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 2011 A SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM PRODUCED A TORNADO THAT TOUCHED DOWN IN NORTHEASTERN MOORE COUNTY WEST OF CAMERON NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF RED HILL ROAD AND GILCHRIST ROAD. THE INITIAL TORNADO TOUCHDOWN INTENSITY WAS EF0.

THE TORNADO STRENGTHENED TO AN EF1 AS IT CROSSED HIGHWAY 1 NEAR WILDLIFE ROAD BLOWING A SINGLE WIDE TRAILER OFF ITS FOUNDATION AND DAMAGING ANOTHER HOME NEXT DOOR. TORNADO CONTINUED TO INTENSIFY TO EF3 ALONG LEMON SPRINGS ROAD STRIKING THE ST ANDREWS SUBDIVISION. ONE FATALITY OCCURRED IN A VEHICLE ALONG LEMON SPRINGS ROAD. NUMEROUS HOMES WERE COMPLETELY DESTROYED AND SEVERAL TWO STORY HOMES HAD THEIR UPPER FLOORS REMOVED. WIND SPEEDS WERE ESTIMATED AT 140 MPH WITH A PATH LENGTH OF OVER A QUARTER MILE.

ADDITIONAL HOMES WERE BLOWN OFF THEIR FOUNDATION ON CEMETERY DRIVE.

CONTINUING NORTHEAST ALONG CAMERON DRIVE...THE UPPER FLOOR WAS BLOWN OFF TWO APARTMENT BUILDINGS. THE TORNADO THEN ENTERED AN INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX ALONG INDUSTRIAL DR WHERE IT MULTIPLE STEEL CONSTRUCTED RETAIL BUILDINGS WERE DESTROYED IN ADDITION TO AT LEAST THREE LARGE WAREHOUSES AT THE STATIC CONTROL FACILITY. WINDS IN THIS AREA LIKELY EXCEEDED 160 MPH. THE TORNADO THEN DESTROYED THE TRACTOR SUPPLY COMPANY... BIG LOTS... AND LOWES HOME IMPROVEMENT STORE ALONG HIGHWAY 421. WINDS IN THIS AREA WERE ESTIMATED AROUND 140 MPH. TWO HOMES WERE BLOWN OFF THEIR FOUNDATIONS ALONG RICE RD NORTH OF HIGHWAY 42. A FATALITY OCCURRED ALONG POPLAR SPRING CHURCH ROAD IN A MOBILE HOME. THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST ALONG AVENT FERRY ROAD CROSSING INTO CHATHAM COUNTY JUST EAST OF HARRIS LAKE.

THE TORNADO WEAKENED TO EF0 AS IT APPROACHED HOLLY SPRINGS. THERE WAS MULTIPLE TREE AND ROOF DAMAGE ALONG AVENT FERRY ROAD SOUTHWEST OF HOLLY SPRINGS. THE TORNADO INTENSIFIED TO EF1 WITH WINDS OF 86 MPH AS IT REACHED THE FIRE STATION NUMBER TWO AND THE HOLLY GLENN SUBDIVISION BEFORE CROSSING HIGHWAY 55 AND TRACKING THROUGH THE REMINGTON DEVELOPMENT. AVERAGE INTENSITY IN HOLLY SPRINGS WAS EF0 WITH WINDS AROUND 80 MPH.

AT APPROXIMATELY 350 PM AN EF-1 TORNADO...WITH WINDS GREATER THAN 100 MPH...TRACKED NORTHEAST ACROSS TRYON ROAD...BETWEEN LAKE WHEELER ROAD AND THE RALEIGH GOLF ASSOCIATION GOLF COURSE. SEVERAL HOMES ALONG TRYON ROAD SUSTAINED DAMAGE FROM FALLEN TREES AS THE THE TORNADO PROCEEDED NORTHEAST SNAPPING TREES THROUGH A HEAVILY WOODED AREA ON THE WESTERN PERIPHERY OF THE VILLAGE OF TYRON SUBDIVISION.

THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST ACROSS SOUTH SAUNDERS STREET WHERE FOUR BUSINESSES WERE DAMAGED. A BODY SHOP HAD THE MOST SEVERE DAMAGE WHEN THE ROOF WAS COMPLETELY RIPPED OFF AND THE SIDE WALLS COLLAPSED. THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO SNAP HARDWOOD TREES AND POWER-LINES ACROSS MOUNT HOPE CEMETERY AND NEARBY HOMES.

AS THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST TOWARDS SHAW UNIVERSITY...IT APPEARED THE TORNADO WEAKENED WITH MOST DOWNED TREES HAVING BEEN UPROOTED. DORMITORIES AND THE STUDENT CENTER ON CAMPUS HAD WINDOWS BLOWN IN WITH ROOF DAMAGE.

THE TORNADO STRENGTHENED TO AN EF-2 WITH WINDS GREATER THAN 110 MPH AS IT CONTINUED NORTHEAST PRODUCING EXTENSIVE TREE DAMAGE IN AN APPROXIMATE 100 YARD WIDE PATH FROM STONY BROOK DRIVE TO BUFFALO ROAD. SNAPPED TREES CRASHED ONTO AND THROUGH NUMEROUS HOMES ALL ALONG THE PATH. IT IS IN THIS AREA WHERE 3 FATALITIES WERE REPORTED WHEN TWO MOBILE HOMES WERE THROWN 30 TO 50 FEET WHEN THE TIE DOWNS SNAPPED FROM THEIR ANCHOR POINTS. NEARLY ALL OF THE MOBILE HOMES IN THE PARK SUSTAINED SOME TYPE OF DAMAGE.

THE EF-2 TORNADO CONTINUED TO MOVE NORTHEAST ACROSS BUFFALO ROAD NEAR THE CARDINAL GROVE SUBDIVISION. SEVERAL TWO STORY HOMES WERE COMPLETELY DESTROYED WITH NUMEROUS OTHER HOMES SUSTAINING MODERATE TO MAJOR DAMAGE.

DAMAGE CONSISTENT WITH AN EF-2 TORNADO CONTINUED WITH WIDESPREAD DAMAGE IN A 150 YARD WIDE SWATH ALONG FORESTVILLE ROAD. A COUPLE OF MOBILE HOMES WERE DESTROYED AND SEVERAL TWO STORY HOMES SUFFERED EXTENSIVE ROOF DAMAGE...WITH CONTINUED NUMEROUS SNAPPED TREES ON HOUSES.

THE TORNADO WEAKENED OR LIFTED AS IT MOVED NORTHEAST TOWARDS . DAMAGE BECAME VERY SPORADIC AND ISOLATED IN NATURE AS IT CROSSED THE WAKE AND FRANKLIN COUNTY LINE.

The weather service's second report:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RALEIGH NC HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO THAT MOVED IN A NEARLY CONTINUOUS PATH FROM NEAR THE COMMUNITY OF WAYSIDE IN HOKE COUNTY...THROUGH THE FAYETTEVILLE AREA...TO DUNN AND SMITHFIELD IN HARNETT COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA ON APRIL 16 2011.

A TORNADO INITIALLY FORMED NEAR THE WAYSIDE AND JOHNSONS MILL COMMUNITIES IN HOKE COUNTY...WHERE EF0 DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED WITH MOSTLY TREE DAMAGE. THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO MOVE NORTHEAST... CROSSING INTO CUMBERLAND COUNTY JUST NORTH OF HIGHWAY 401. EF0 DAMAGE CONTINUED NEAR THE CLIFDALE COMMUNITY...WHERE THE DAMAGE WAS MORE SPORADIC ACROSS BONES CREEK AND STEWARTS CREEK.

STRONG TORNADO DAMAGE THEN OCCURRED IN AND NEAR THE BEAVER CREEK COMMUNITY ALONG REILLY ROAD AND YADKIN ROAD WEST OF FAYETTEVILLE. DAMAGE WAS MOSTLY EF1 AND EF2 HERE... BUT WAS BRIEFLY EF3 DAMAGE (WIND SPEEDS NEAR 140 MPH) TO A BUSINESS AND SOME DWELLINGS NEAR YADKIN ROAD. FOLLOWING THIS...EF0 AND EF1 DAMAGE OCCURRED ACROSS SIMMONS ARMY AIRFIELD...ALONG ANDREWS ROAD AND ACROSS PINE FOREST HIGH SCHOOL NORTH OF FAYETTEVILLE...AS WELL AS THE GOODYEAR PLANT ALONG HIGHWAY 401. THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST...THROUGH THE CARLOS AND SLOCOMB COMMUNITIES...WITH MAINLY EF0 TREE DAMAGE. THE TORNADO DAMAGE PATH WAS ABOUT A HALF MILE WIDE.

JUST SOUTH OF THE LINDEN COMMUNITY...A SMALL AREA OF EF2 DAMAGE OCCURRED NEAR MCBRYDE ROAD WHERE SEVERAL HOMES WERE HEAVILY DAMAGED...AND A MOBILE HOME WAS COMPLETELY DESTROYED. ANOTHER BRIEF BREAK IN THE DAMAGE OCCURRED NEAR THE CAPE FEAR RIVER...THEN DAMAGE BEGAN AGAIN JUST SOUTH OF DUNN. IN DUNN...EF1 DAMAGE WAS COMMON...WITH AREAS OF EF2 DAMAGE (WIND SPEEDS TO 130 MPH) WHERE MOBILE HOMES WERE COMPLETELY WIPED OFF OF THEIR FOUNDATIONS AND TREES WERE DEBARKED. THE TORNADO DAMAGE PATH WAS ABOUT ONE THIRD TO ONE HALF MILE WIDE.

THE TORNADO CONTINUED MOVING NORTHEAST FROM DUNN INTO SOUTHERN JOHNSTON COUNTY WHERE IT MOVED NORTHEAST AND CROSSED HIGHWAY 242 AND HIGHWAY 50 PRODUCING A WIDE SWATH OF DAMAGE ON THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF BENSON. HUNDREDS OF TREES WERE UPROOTED OR SNAPPED IN HALF...SEVERAL MODULAR HOMES WERE DESTROYED...AND NUMEROUS HOMES WERE HEAVILY DAMAGED. THE TORNADO SUBSEQUENTLY CROSSED INTERSTATE 40 NEAR MILE MARKER 330 AND CONTINUED MOVING NORTHEAST TO JUST SOUTH OF FOUR OAKS BEFORE CROSSING INTERSTATE 95 NEAR MILE MARKER 90. THE TORNADO LIFTED JUST BEFORE REACHING SMITHFIELD WHERE LITTLE OR NO DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED. THROUGHOUT THIS PART OF THE TRACK THERE WAS A BROAD SWATH OF EF0 DAMAGE WITH EMBEDDED AREAS OF EF1 AND EF2 DAMAGE. AT ITS PEAK...THE TORNADO WAS A HALF MILE TO A MILE WIDE.

MANY THANKS TO HOKE COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT...THE PUPPY CREEK FIRE DEPARTMENT... CUMBERLAND COUNTY AND FAYETTEVILLE FIRE...LAW ENFORCEMENT...AND EMERGENCY SERVICES OFFICIALS...ROBERT BEATY OF SIMMONS ARMY AIRFIELD... AND HARNETT COUNTY AND DUNN FIRE...LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EMERGENCY SERVICES OFFICIALS. THIS INFORMATION CAN ALSO BE FOUND ON OUR WEBSITE AT WEATHER.GOV/RAH. FOR REFERENCE...THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES TORNADOES INTO THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES: EF0...WIND SPEEDS 65 TO 85 MPH. EF1...WIND SPEEDS 86 TO 110 MPH. EF2...WIND SPEEDS 111 TO 135 MPH. EF3...WIND SPEEDS 136 TO 165 MPH. EF4...WIND SPEEDS 166 TO 200 MPH. EF5...WIND SPEEDS GREATER THAN 200 MPH.

...TORNADO CONFIRMED NEAR MICRO IN JOHNSTON COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA... LOCATION...MICRO IN JOHNSTON COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA DATE...APRIL 16 2011 ESTIMATED TIME...454 PM EDT MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF1 ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...90 MPH MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH...100 YARDS PATH LENGTH...3 MILES BEGINNING LAT/LON...35.57N / 78.21W ENDING LAT/LON...35.59N / 78.15W * FATALITIES...0 * INJURIES...NONE KNOWN

* THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT(S) AND PUBLICATION IN NWS STORM DATA. ...SUMMARY... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RALEIGH NC HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO NEAR MICRO IN NORTHERN JOHNSTON COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA ON APRIL 16 2011.

AFTER THE PREVIOUS TORNADO LIFTED...THE SAME SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM PRODUCED ANOTHER TORNADO IN MICRO...IN VICINITY OF HIGHWAY 301 AT ROUGHLY 454 PM EDT. THE TORNADO MOVED NORTHEAST ALONG OR NEAR HIGHWAY 301 AND WAS ON THE GROUND FOR ROUGHLY 3 MILES...WITH A MAXIMUM WIDTH OF 100 YARDS. THE TORNADO LIFTED AT ROUGHLY 500 PM EDT JUST SOUTHWEST OF KENLY. NUMEROUS TREES WERE SNAPPED IN HALF OR UPROOTED RESULTING IN DOWNED POWERLINES AND DAMAGE TO HOMES AND BUSINESSES. PEAK WINDS WERE ESTIMATED AT 90 MPH OR EF1 ON THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE.

...TORNADO CONFIRMED NEAR WILSON AND LUCAMA IN WILSON COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA... LOCATION...WILSON AND LUCAMA IN WILSON COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA DATE...APRIL 16 2011 ESTIMATED TIME...512 PM THROUGH 519 PM MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF2 ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...120 MPH MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH...100 YARDS PATH LENGTH...5 MILES BEGINNING LAT/LON...35.70N / 77.99W ENDING LAT/LON...35.73N / 77.94W * FATALITIES...0 * INJURIES...NONE KNOWN

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RALEIGH NC HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO NEAR WILSON AND LUCAMA IN WILSON COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA ON APRIL 16 2011.

AT ROUGHLY 512 PM EDT THE SAME SUPERCELL SPAWNED ANOTHER TORNADO SOUTHWEST OF THE CITY OF WILSON...JUST NORTH OF THE TOWN OF LUCAMA WHERE SEVERAL HOMES WERE HEAVILY DAMAGED AND NUMEROUS LARGE PINE TREES WERE SNAPPED IN HALF OR UPROOTED. SEVERAL VEHICLES WERE BLOWN OVER AND ROLLED AS MUCH AS 100 FEET. WINDS IN THIS LOCATION WERE ESTIMATED AT 120 MPH...OR EF2 ON THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE. THE TORNADO CONTINUED MOVING NORTHEAST AND CROSSED HIGHWAY 42 ON THE WESTERN SIDE OF WILSON WHERE 25 HOMES AND A DOZEN BUSINESSES WERE HEAVILY DAMAGED...IN ADDITION TO NUMEROUS DOWNED TREES AND POWERLINES. SEVERAL AIR CONDITIONING UNITS WERE BLOWN OFF THE TOP OF BUSINESSES ONTO THE STREET...AND DOZENS OF VEHICLES AT A CAR DEALERSHIP WERE HEAVILY DAMAGED BY WIND BLOWN DEBRIS. AT THIS POINT...PEAK WINDS WERE ALSO ESTIMATED AT 120 MPH...OR EF2. THE TORNADO CONTINUED MOVING NORTHEAST TO HIGHWAY 264 ON THE WESTERN SIDE OF WILSON WHERE A FAMILY MEDICAL SUPPLY BUILDING AND THE PARKWOOD VILLAGE APARTMENTS RECEIVED MINOR ROOF DAMAGE AND BROKEN WINDOWS FROM WIND BLOWN DEBRIS. WINDS IN THIS AREA WERE ESTIMATED AT 80 MPH...OR EF0 INTENSITY. THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO WEAKEN AND LIFTED NEAR HIGHWAY 58 ON THE NORTHWEST SIDE OF WILSON AT ROUGHLY 519 PM EDT. THE LENGTH OF THE TORNADO TRACK WAS ESTIMATED AT 5 MILES...WITH A MAXIMUM WIDTH OF 100 YARDS.

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