National Weather Service field teams have confirmed tornadoes touched down in Durham, Granville, Vance, Wayne and Duplin counties during Wednesday's storms, the agency said.
Based on damage to trees, the weather service’s Raleigh office said an EF1 tornado touched down for a few minutes in an area along Rose of Sharon Road, about 5 miles northwest of downtown Durham at about 4 p.m.
Snapped-off trees were the twister’s signature in a wooded area, the report said. Extensive damage to nearby trees, some of which fell on houses, was attributed to straight-line winds, which leave trees uprooted and lying in the same general direction.
An EF1 tornado has winds between 86 and 110 mph, and weather service staff estimated winds in the Durham tornado were about 90 mph.
A tornado ranked as reaching EF2, meaning winds between 111 and 135 mph, touched down about 3.7 miles northeast of Oxford, in Granville County, just after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, the report said. It took a 5-mile path that brought it into Vance County before it dissipated, observers reported.
Most of the damage indicated winds blowing at 95 to 110 mph, in the EF1 range, but some wreckage indicated a top speed of 125 mph.
In Wayne County, field observers confirmed an EF0 tornado in the early afternoon southwest of Seven Springs. EF0 twisters have winds ranging from 65 to 85 mph.
The weather service’s office in Morehead City said teams confirmed an EF1 tornado touched about 1:13 p.m. about 7 miles east of Calypso in Duplin County.
An EF0 had touched down in the county about 15 minutes earlier in Warsaw, the weather service’s storm report said.
The weather service cautioned that all the field reports are preliminary and subject to further review before becoming official storm records.