Winds reach 120 mph in North Carolina tornadoes, canceling local Christmas parade

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Two tornadoes touched down less than 10 miles apart Saturday afternoon on the North Carolina coast, ripping roofs from homes and canceling the annual Emerald Isle Christmas parade.

Tornadoes hit Emerald Isle and Cape Carteret around 2 p.m. Saturday, causing intense damage, according to a report from the National Weather Service, including siding ripped from homes, roofs destroyed, fallen trees and utility lines and tossed trailers.

There were no reported injuries as of Sunday afternoon.

Winds blew as strong as 120 miles per hour during the Emerald Isle tornado, declared an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale used to measure the severity of tornadoes. The funnel touched down first on the sound side of the narrow North Carolina island, causing extensive damage to homes before moving west into Bogue Sound and becoming a waterspout, the National Weather Service said in its report.

Because of the storm, Emerald Isle announced Saturday’s Christmas parade had been canceled, with hopes for better weather next year.

The tornado across Bogue Sound in Cape Carteret wasn’t nearly as strong, with winds topping out at 80 miles per hour, registering an EF0. The National Weather Service reported minimal damage, including the lifting of a porch from its foundation.

On Saturday evening thousands were without power in Carteret County, according to utility provider Carteret-Craven Electric Co-op. By Sunday afternoon power had been restored to most residents, with a handful of outages remaining, and those outside the area of the tornadoes.

Drew Jackson; 919-828-4707; @jdrewjackson