Governor Perdue declares state of emergency

April 15, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
Fast moving storms blew through most of North Carolina Saturday leaving widespread damage in its wake.

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Governor Beverly Perdue declared a state of emergency for North Carolina Saturday evening after as many as 62 tornadoes touched down across the state.

At least 10 people have been confirmed dead after at least 20 counties reported tornadoes. Perdue says more counties may have been affected, but she does not have an exact number at this time.

According to the National Weather Service, one fatality was reported on Juniper Church Road in Benson and another one in Cumberland County.

There are two fatalities in Lee County and three in Bladen due to the storm.

At the Stony Brook Mobile Home Park in Raleigh, three children were killed after the area sustained major damage and many homes were destroyed.

A source at the scene told ABC11 that the 2-year-old, 3-year-old and 5-year-old died when a tree fell on their home while they were in a bathtub.

Perdue says she is in contact with FEMA to get the necessary aid to NC as soon as possible and HAZMAT teams are assisting. She made it clear that authorities are being thorough with looking for people who may be trapped in buildings and neighborhoods.

"When something is damaged, our team makes sure no one is there," she said.

A significant amount of Raleigh's damage was in the South Saunders Street area, near Western Boulevard and I-40. Authorities are still working to make sure there is no one trapped in their homes or any of the buildings that sustained major damage.

Neighborhoods surrounding Shaw University, Buffalo Road and New Hope Road area and Yonkers Road area were also impacted by the storm.

"I don't have anything, nothing ... we have nothing," Fayetteville resident Tina Palmer said. "We saw it coming, my husband said, 'run to the bathroom,' we went to the bathroom and we had all six children in the tub ... the windows broke out, the roof went , the walls went ... there's nothing left, there's a tree on my daughter's truck ... I don't know where my cats are ... (crying) I don't know where anything is. We just lost everything. I don't know where we are going to go."

The City is providing temporary shelter at Sanderford Road Park and Millbrook Exchange Community Center. The temporary shelters will be open until Wake County establishes shelter at Heritage High School.

Officials in Cumberland County have also set up at least four shelters for those in need. They have also activated their Emergency Operations Center and requested assistance from the state for rescue, EMS and Search and Rescue/Collapse Team.

Click here for a complete list of shelters across the state

Storm debris is blocking multiple access points onto Fort Bragg and power is out on base, but no one was hurt. Fort Bragg will be closed on Sunday.

In Wilson County, Wilson Emergency Management says no injuries were reported, but multiple homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed after a tornado touched down in the downtown area. Witnesses say they saw the tornado touch down around Tarboro Street and Forest Hills Road and around Cranberry Ridge. Outages have been reported due to downed power lines throughout the city. Utility crews are working to restore power but say it may be a while before customers are out of the dark.

Severe damage has been reported in three neighborhoods, mostly in the northern part of Cumberland County's Fayetteville.

Several homes and businesses along Yadkin Road and near the Pine Forest area have been severely damaged by the storm.

The Goodyear tire plant also sustained damage to its building. Plant officials are still trying to assess the extent of the damage. A worker did suffer minor injuries, but no one else was hurt.

Officials say the plant is expected to resume normal operations at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

In Person County, about 200 homes were damaged, according to the Roxboro Fire Department. Damages include multiple downed power lines and trees and the roof of the Bethel Hill Charter School was blown off. A tornado reportedly touched down off US-501 west of Mayo Lake.

US-501 is closed at Bethel Hill Loop because of downed power lines. Temporary shelter is available at the Bethel Hill Church off old 501.

The National Weather Service also had reports of tornadoes in Lee and Alamance counties, but those reports have not been confirmed.

There were multiple reports of tornadoes in Lee County -- specifically Sanford. An ABC11 viewer submitted video of what appears to be a funnel cloud. Click here to watch.

There were reports of severe damage that included a Lowe's Co. hardware in a busy part of Sanford. Monica Elliott, who works at the nearby Brick City Grill, says the front of the Lowe's building was flattened.

Dozens of people were saved at the store when a manager corralled them into the back of the building to avoid the approaching storm.

Rescuers also were working to reach hikers stranded by a flash flood in the mountains after camping trailers were hit by floodwaters.

Progress Energy reports thousands of customers were without power as trees and high winds damaged power lines. Initially, 250,000 customers were without power. By 11 p.m., that number had decreased to 143,000.

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The storms are part of a larger system which has brought tornadoes to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama the past two days.

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