By Ford Porter, nc.gov
Severe storms and tornadoes swept through North Carolina late Wednesday evening, damaging homes, toppling trees, closing roads and knocking out power to several Piedmont communities.
“We’re extremely fortunate that there were no life-threatening injuries from this band of storms that struck North Carolina,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “It’s heartening to see community volunteers and first responders working so effectively to help communities that suffered damage.”
Early reports indicate that tornadoes may have touched down in Davie, Iredell, Stokes, Union, and Yadkin counties within central North Carolina. Several dozen homes and buildings have been damaged and a few destroyed, including an elementary school gym in the Courtney community. Crews have been working through the night throughout the Piedmont region to cut and shove fallen trees off blocked roadways.
Davie, Stokes and Yadkin counties declared local states of emergency due to the storms. The formal declaration enables jurisdictions to seek state or federal aid if needed.
National Weather Service meteorologists will inspect the impacted areas today to determine where tornadoes struck, while local and state emergency managers will survey the damages to homes and businesses.
“Now that our county emergency managers can survey their communities in daylight hours, we’ll have a better idea of the extent and types of damage these storms caused,” said state Emergency Manager Mike Sprayberry.
Sprayberry said once emergency managers have a clearer picture of the nature of the damages, they will be able to determine what, if any, state or federal aid may be available to help individuals and communities recover from these latest storms.
Local responders have reported damages to multiple homes in the five counties. Tornadoes also damaged the Courtney Elementary School in Yadkin County and buildings at a YMCA camp near the Sauratown community in Stokes County. Heavy rains and wind also toppled trees in McDowell County blocking roads and isolating some homes.
Tornadoes destroyed the Courtney Elementary School gymnasium when severe storms and tornadoes swept across North Carolina’s Piedmont on May 24, 2017.