Tornado knocks down Johnston County barn

A tornado destroyed a barn and tore shingles from the roofs of several homes in Johnston County on Tuesday night. No one was hurt.

Johnston emergency management officials said the incident happened at 8:15 p.m., as a weather system that had been drenching the Triangle all day moved east.

The National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday that the storm had been a tornado. Officials usually do not declare an event to have been a tornado until they survey damage and review radar recordings of the winds.

The tornado was an EF-0, the lowest category on the NWS scale. It touched down on the 2600 block of Old Beulah Road, about three miles outside Micro. It died down after just a quarter of a mile. The storm’s path was 50-75 yards at most, according to a report. It reached speeds of 75 miles per hour, damaging a nearby mobile home and a few exterior structures.

The most serious damage was done to a barn that has stood on Old Beulah for more than 100 years. The barn belongs to Laylon Boykin, 77, who lives a few miles from the property.

Her son-in-law, Joe Ballance, who lives just across the road from the barn, said it was leveled. “Our plan this spring was to go through and clean it out, but I think the Lord did that for us,” he said.

Ballance and his brother-in-law didn’t lose much more than junk storage space, but the barn was precious to Boykin. It has been in her family since the early 1900s, when her grandfather, Herbert Scott, built it to store tobacco, mules and cows.

Tuesday brought 1.54 inches of rain to the weather station at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

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