It said an EF2 tornado touched down in Atlantic Beach. An EF2 tornado has wind speeds between 111 to 135 mph. A less powerful EF1 or EF0 hit Morehead City.
At least three people suffered minor injuries. The storm knocked out power to thousands of people in the coastal areas.
Employees at the Ocean Sands condominiums in Atlantic Beach say the storm tore the roof off one of the buildings. A man was trapped at one point and was rescued. Two people had minor injuries.
There are dozens of trees down in Morehead City - prompting the city manager to temporarily declare a state of emergency.
There are also reports of minor damage at Carteret General Hospital. It was running on generator power Wednesday morning.
Carteret Community College was hit by wind damage. One student suffered minor injuries from flying glass.
The college's student center was damaged, as was the building used for basic law enforcement training.
"We took quite a hit," said Joe Rufra, training director.
Classes were cancelled Wednesday because of the damage. The school plans to reopen Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
"Right now we are closing the campus to only essential workers involved in recovery and clean up," said school president Kerry Youngblood. "Safety is our main concern. There's a lot of debris and some power lines are down."
Minor damage was reported at Carteret General Hospital in Morehead City. The hospital was fully functional had not diverted any patients. The hospital said it mobilized its emergency disaster team.
The Crystal Coast Civic Center suffered window damage.
At one time, Duke Energy Progress reported about 6,000 customers without service in Carteret County. At least 500 customers were still without service Wednesday morning.
Atlantic Beach Fire chief Adam Snyder said the damage is the worst he's seen in his 16 years in the area.
"It almost looks like something you'd see on the news in the Midwest," Snyder told WITN-TV.
Two buildings were damaged at the Island Beach Racquet Club and three people were evacuated from the damaged buildings.