Strong storms roll across the region

In Four Oaks, strong winds ripped the steeple off a church, that left people there scrambling.

Pastor J.T. Mercado says straight lined winds barreled through Thursday evening --toppling trees, destroying signs-- pummeling Corner Stone Baptist Church's roof and steeple.

"The force winds came over those trees 70 miles an hour and came down and just blew this way," he said. "The winds came over the tree tops and just - came on the ground and lifted up a lot of these shingles - water damage."

Minutes after, some of the church's 80 members showed up to patch up holes. From inside the sanctuary the damage is limited and easily repairable.

"The steeple is just material, it can be replaced, but what Christ did for us can never be replaced," Mercado said.

Four years ago, with little money, 80 percent of the construction on cornerstone was resurrected in eight days. It's why it's known locally as the miracle church.

"People could have got hurt, kids could have been down here and got hurt, but thank God nobody was here. We're going to survive, this is nothing," Mercado said.

Fayetteville also experienced damaging weather Thursday evening. Torrential rain flooded streets and strong winds sent a tree crashing into homes.

Fayetteville resident, Chelsi Tivis is originally from Oklahoma, and says she knows bad weather and that the storm was shocking.

"It was scary, it was pretty scary … it hit really fast," she said.

Torrential rains quickly swamped storm drains, flooding area streets and roads, residents say it was no summer downpour, hail peppered parts of Fayetteville.

"It lasted about 15 minutes it was pretty severe. The hail it started out the size of quarters then go to the size of golf balls," resident Kelly Lee said.

And the wind seemed to have caused some of the worst damage. Crashing power lines and poles and snapping trees all over town.

One fell into Michelle Roberts home as she slept. She says she moved to the area from Florida, thinking she got away from really bad weather.

"Yeah, the hurricanes don't even sound like that. The next thing I knew I heard a bang and water started coming in through the roof and the roof caved in. But I was out of the room by then," she said.

Residents say as fast as it hit the storm moved on, leaving behind a trail of damage.

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