National Weather Service confirms EF2 tornado in Granville County with 125mph winds

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Thursday, February 25, 2016
Touring the tornado damage
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ABC11 toured the areas cleaning up after a confirmed tornado touched down in Granville County

OXFORD, NC (WTVD) -- The National Weather Service says it has confirmed an EF-2 tornado touched down in the Oxford area of Granville County Wednesday with winds reaching 125mph.

It happened in the Huntsboro community near the Henderson-Oxford airport. At least a dozen homes were damaged - some completely destroyed.

Amazingly, nobody was hurt.

Crews are working to board up houses, and there has been a constant flow of neighbors stopping by to help with the cleanup. They've been rummaging through the piles of debris, looking for anything they can salvage.

"It looks like a war zone or something. It's just one of the things I've never seen before," resident Wayne Overton said.

Down the road from the damaged homes is the Sears Dairy farm. Two silos were destroyed, and roofs and a tractor damaged.

Mary Genia Day was emotional seeing her father's farm for the first time since the powerful storm Thursday. The farm has been in her family since 1943.

"It's sad. These silos represent a lot to our family. But it could have been worse. So we're grateful for that," she said.

Two workers were milking cows when the storm hit. They hunkered down to stay safe.

"It's sort of devastating. Nobody was hurt. Didn't lose any animals. That's the main thing," said farm owner Sears Day.

The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado that touched down in Granville County was an EF-2. The NWS said winds reached 125 mph along the tornado's path.

Pam West took ABC11 on a tour of what's left of her home Wednesday night.

Her front door was torn off and tossed 500 feet into a field. The living room wall now rests on the sofa where West's husband, Rick, usually rests. Rick has a serious hearing problem so Pam did the talking. She said as fate would have it, Rick left the house minutes before the tornado struck. It may have been a life-saving run to Walmart for dog food.

"With his hearing problem he never would've heard (the tornado) coming, so I thank God that God told him to go get dog treats," West said.

Down the road, Dale Harrison took cover in her hallway. She called it a terrifying few seconds that seemed to last forever.

"Very scary, felt like the whole house was shaking. It sounded like a great big train coming through," Harrison said.

The Red Cross is assisting nine displaced families.

Thursday, Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in North Carolina, a move aimed at allowed utility crews to expedite power restoration efforts.