National Weather Service confirms EF2 tornado in Greensboro with 135 mph winds

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ABC11's Josh Chapin was in Greensboro on Monday night, talking to residents glad to be alive.

The National Weather Service says it has confirmed an EF-2 tornado touched down in Greensboro on Sunday with winds reaching 135 mph and a path width of at least 300 yards.

City officials said in a news conference Monday afternoon that more than 300 homes and businesses. One hundred of those were either severely damaged or destroyed.

Chopper 11 was over Greensboro on Monday.

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Aerials from Chopper 11 over damage in Greensboro after tornado

Neighborhoods near Hampton Elementary School on the east side of Greensboro appear to have been hit the hardest.

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ABC11's Jonah Kaplan and Chris Hohmann talk to survivors and have the latest updates on tornado damage.

"Man, we've been here all our lives but you never expect anything like that to happen," said Greensboro resident Daniel Matthews. "but like as I said, by the grace of God, everybody is still here."

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Significant damage reported around Greensboro after tornado hits

Matthews said the storm came quickly.

"I saw rain like you never saw before, and then wind started coming and it started hailing," he said. "Everybody here was all right but just thankful to be alive."

John Morehead was standing at the window when he heard that tell-tale sound: "like a freight train."

"I looked out the window - two trees were floating - that high off the ground and they went to Lee Street and dropped down, and I said I better get out of here," Morehead said. "My little baby truck is parked under that tree - that was my baby,
A view from the sky shows downed trees and structures that were destroyed.

"Over the years, you see stuff on TV - it happens in Louisiana, it won't happen to us, it won't happen to me, we're fine," said resident Ernest Alston. "North Carolina is a pretty safe state but it happened."

Officials said thousands in the Gate City are still without power.

One person died after his car was crushed by a tree.

"I turned 50 (during the weekend) - that was fortunate," Alston said. "Turning 50, a half-century, that's fortunate - the fact that a tree didn't come through the house - this is really a blessing."

Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras told news reporters that classes would be canceled Tuesday because of the storm.

Three schools were damaged so severely that they won't reopen this year and their students are being relocated to other schools. In all, Contreras said 16 schools are without electricity.

Contreras said alternate locations will be set up for students who depend on the schools for their meals.

"Thank God school was not in session when this storm hit because you could see the devastated classrooms. We have to be grateful for that," Gov. Roy Cooper said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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