Sampson County storm damage blamed on straight-line winds

CLINTON, North Carolina (WTVD) -- At least 14 people were hurt late Monday night when severe thunderstorms rolled through Sampson County.

None of the injuries were life-threatening.

WATCH: Drone 11 flies over Sampson County damage
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Drone 11 shows storm damage over Deerfield Estates MHP in Sampson County.

The powerful storms knocked down trees and blew over mobile homes. The National Weather Service sent a team to investigate and determined the damage was caused by straight-line winds and not a tornado.

NWS meteorologists said what made the storm unique was the wind path was as wide as 4-5 miles with winds as high as 90 mph. For comparison, that's as strong as a EF-1 tornado.

Assistant County Manager Susan Holder said 12-18 structures were damaged. Several mobile homes in the Basstown Road area were flipped over and numerous poultry and hog houses were damaged.

The storm yanked most of the roof off Chris Wahlstrom's home.

"A good 40 feet of it came right off and just right out there in the woods. That's part of it there. There's another part of it right there," he said.

Brenda Smith was in her mobile home when the storm hit. It ripped her home from its foundation, overturning it and destroying it completely. She said she grabbed onto her sink and and prayed.

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ABC11 Chief Meteorologist Chris Hohmann explains the danger of straight-line winds.

She has scrapes and cuts, but she and her dog Lacey made it out OK.

"To look at it now, it hits me how bad it really was," she said. "It's a miracle that I walked out of there."

Sampson County and Clinton City Schools operated on a 2-hour delay Tuesday because of the road closures.

US-421 was closed in both directions just north of Clinton.

Holder said the storms appeared to have taken a path from west to east just north of Clinton and the Basstown, Keener, and Kitty Fork areas were the worst hit.

The American Red Cross is offering help to those who need it.

About 1,100 people were reportedly without power.


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