National Weather Service confirms Franklin County tornado

Some of the damage seen from Chopper 11 after the storm.

June 19, 2013 3:55:00 PM PDT
After a storm dealt a powerful punch to parts of Franklin County Tuesday evening, officials with the National Weather Service's office in Raleigh went to Franklin County and confirmed a tornado actually touched down.

Officials said it was an EF0, with maximum winds of 85 miles per hour.

High winds carved up destruction spanning about a six-mile radius around U.S. Highways 401 and N.C. Highway 98 knocking out power lines and traffic signals.

Fortunately, no one was hurt.

A small subdivision in the county was the hardest hit.

While the National Weather Service was assessing the damage Wednesday morning, families returned to take what they could from what remained of their homes.

"My wife said, 'Oh my God, the roof is gone,' and it was just a devastating event and we're lucky to be alive," resident Chris Rapper said. "Minimal damage to my property ... some trees down and my barns are tore down, but I think they're out in the trees."

Homeowners said it will take a while for some of them to get everything cleaned up and repaired.

In the meantime, North Carolina Department of Transportation crews were cutting down trees and pushing them out of the road after debris shut down parts of a Clifton Pond Road.

"We've been out here since about 6:30 this morning and we've been rolling," said Philip Hunt with All Pro Tree Service. "We're just finishing up on one of the properties right behind you and now we're going to go over and try to get all of these properties right here cleaned up."

Workers also had to put back several headstones at a cemetery near Harris Chapel Baptist Church that got knocked over during the storm.

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