Storm damage cleanup, salvage underway

JOHNSTON COUNTY Five tornadoes moved from south to north right along the I-95 corridor hitting Pine Level, Clement, Meadows, Kenly and Elm City overnight Friday into early Saturday morning.

The storms destroyed at least 12 homes and damaged dozens more, but the loss is much greater for two families.

Joshua Wiggins, 11, and Marilyn Gomez, a woman in her sixties, were killed when the twisters struck.

The first tornado dropped out of the sky over Sampson County at 2:15 a.m. Saturday morning. It was an EF-0 with winds of 70 miles an hour and was on the ground for 4 miles.

The next tornado touched down near meadows in Johnston County at 2:45 a.m. It was an EF-1 with 90 mile an hour winds and was on the ground for one mile.

The third tornado hit Kenly in Johnston County at 3:10 a.m. It was on the ground for 4-and-a-half miles and was an EF-2 with winds of 135 miles an hour. It was the tornado that killed Gomez.

The fourth tornado was the most devastating. An EF-3 hit Elm City in Wilson County at 3:30 a.m. with 140 mile an hour winds. It was on the ground for 8 miles and was 100 yards wide. This tornado killed Wiggins.

The extent of the damage is still being assessed across the outer reaches of the tornadoes paths.

The Red Cross says people can give donations by calling 1-800-Help-Now, or by sending checks to the Triangle Area Chapter of the Red Cross, which covers Johnston County. They are located at 100 North Peartree Lane, Raleigh, NC, 27610-1824.

If you send a check, make sure to designate it to Disaster Relief. Local churches and other community based organizations can take donations of clothes and food or other items.

Copyright © 2024 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.