• WEATHER ALERT Severe Thunderstorm Warning

Five tornados hit counties north of Triangle

Roxoboro storm damage on October 27, 2010. (Jim Schumacher)
October 28, 2010 9:15:50 PM PDT
The National Weather Service says five tornadoes touched down in several North Carolina counties Wednesday.

Two of the twisters hit Person County and three others tore through Orange, Granville and Vance counties.

In Roxboro, a house on Apple Tree Lane was ripped from its foundation while a woman was inside Wednesday evening.

"It's like something just hit it and that was it," tornado survivor Geraldine Nash said. "Everything was alright around me and then all of sudden everything just blown up."

No other home nearby was touched by the twister.

"God saved me today. I know he did," Nash said. "I kept saying 'Jesus, Jesus, save me save me.' I was just on my knees praying and thanking God it didn't bother me, because I'm okay, I'm okay."

Shaken but uninjured, Nash's biggest worry was her missing petite Pomeranian that was lost in the uproar of the storm. He was later found okay.

Nash and her family are staying at a local hotel, but their future is uncertain since most of their belongings are gone. But she says her faith is still strong and she remains thankful she's alive.

In Orange County, eyewitness video shot by a viewer on his cell phone showed what appeared to be a tornado that touched down in Cedar Grove Wednesday evening.

"I could see this stuff up in the air twirling like trash," Cedar Grove resident Jerry Ray said. "It was like a howl like 5 -10 seconds it was over."

Ray lives on Carr Store Road just down the street from a church and an empty house that were both heavily damaged by a possible tornado.

"We got on scene and noticed that the house down here had major damage to the back of it and part of the roof was off of it," Cedar Grove Fire Department Chief Frank Berry said. "The whole backside of the church is destroyed and the tree landed on top of it."

Parts of trees and debris littered the area along with downed power lines.

A similar scene played out a few miles from down the road at a property off of Pentecost Drive.

"I was at Food Lion getting my groceries and I come back by and I seen all this destruction," property owner Bobby James said.

James said the property was developed by his family for decade, hard work that was shattered in seconds.

"We got our barn's down, the pack house the shelters around here, they blew all in the pond, my mother's garage is damaged, the roof of the house is damaged," James said. "It's going to take a whole lot of work a whole lot of work."

From Orange County, the storm moved on to Granville County.

A volunteer firefighter in Berea told ABC11 Eyewitness News he saw a funnel cloud drop out of the sky and hit the ground.

"We were standing inside watching Channel 11 News and we saw the top of the trees starting to twist, so we knew we should take cover," Berea resident Bill Haynie said. "So we went ahead and took some cover."

But that didn't make the storm any less frightening for Haynie's family.

"When we went to the bathroom, daddy turned on the exhaust fan to try and drown out some of the sounds to keep hopefully that would help," Christa Haynie said.

There was only some minor damage in the community. The worst sheriff's officials said they could find were some homes moved off their foundation and some sheds and outbuildings taken out by trees.

"Sounded like a freight train coming across the wood line behind the house across the farm up there, but I didn't have any idea we had this magnitude until I was called to check some trees down and then I run up on this. It's just devastating, it really is," resident Bob Critcher said.

So far, no injuries have been reported in Orange, Person or Granville counties.

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