EF-1 tornado confirmed in Catawba County, where 1 dead, 4 injured in storms

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The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-1 tornado in Catawba County, where one person died from severe weather and four others were critically injured.

According to Catawba County Communications, the person died around 1 p.m. along Evening Drive, located south of Old Catawba Road.

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado in the Claremont community.

Catawba County Emergency Management announced Tuesday it would open up a temporary shelter after about 30 people were displaced from their homes. The shelter is at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church at 3180 W. Main St. in Claremont. It is open for residents who have been relocated due to the storm.

Residents seeking shelter at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church are asked to bring:

  • Medications and related medical supplies
  • Personal care items (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
  • A change of clothes
  • Food if you have special food needs
  • A pillow and blanket if you prefer to use your own

Ashley Sigmon, an Alexander County resident, was driving her daughter to work on Interstate 40 through Catawba County when the severe storm rolled through.

Wind damage in Catawba County near Claremont

“The highway is lined with trees on both sides of the highway,” she said. “I could see nothing but water. It was just a big blur, but you could hear and see smidgens of the tree breaking.”

Alicia Hinson, who works in the area, said it was a tornado that touched down in the county.

“I’ve never seen anything like it other than on TV,” she said. “Multiple, multiple, multiple roofs off of homes.”

Thousands lose power across state

Crews with Duke Energy responded to multiple calls of power outages across the state.

At 8:15 p.m., Duke Energy reported 16,570 residents in Wake County were without power.

At its peak, more than 170,000 North Carolina residents lost power as the storms moved through the area.

As of 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, there are still 61,326 NC customers without power.

  • Wake: 5,841
  • Durham: 7,157
  • Johnston: 1,684
  • Chatham: 1,210
  • Franklin: 2,049
  • Moore: 2,349
  • Orange: 1,719
  • Halifax: 636
  • Granville: 1,330
  • Nash: 1,304

Damaging winds knock down trees & power lines

Damaging winds were the biggest threat with this line of storms, which prompted a WRAL Weather Alert Day.

“I was on my way going to take her to work on I-40 and we saw some things, trees start breaking, we heard howling,” Sigmon said. “It was rain but you couldn’t really tell what you were doing because it was so windy and rainy. I just started praying.”

One resident in Catawba County said her brother lost his roof, fence, porch and other things from the strong winds.

Seven Lakes Health and Fitness Center said they sustained significant damage to the roof and will be closed until further notices.

The storms had wind gusts strong enough to rip apart a billboard in the county.

The billboard in Catawba County was ripped apart by strong winds associated with a band of storms rolling through the state on Tuesday.
The billboard in Catawba County was ripped apart by strong winds associated with a band of storms rolling through the state on Tuesday.

Falling trees damaged power lines in Southern Pines as well, closing NC Highway 22, while power lines could be seen sparking on Six Forks Road in Raleigh, sending sparks into the air.

Between flooding and strong winds knocking down trees, numerous roads were blocked or shut down Tuesday evening.

I-95 shut down near Rocky Mount and Sandy Cross Road between mile markers 132 and 138. The road was “impassable” but reopened around 6 p.m.

Authorities with the city of Rocky Mount said the impasse was because of a downed power line, but people have been driving over it.

Flooding causes blocked roads, water rescues

Flooding caused a problem for drivers across the state Tuesday, trapping multiple cars.

Flooding on Umstead Drive between Greene Street and Village Drive.
Flooding on Umstead Drive between Greene Street and Village Drive.

Multiple streets were submerged, including Beauty Street in Statesville and Umstead Drive in Chapel Hill, while flood waters trapped a car in the Mission Valley shopping center.

Water Rescue in Durham
Water Rescue in Durham

In Durham, emergency crews performed a water rescue at Hillindale Road and Pinetree Court.

A gas station parking lot in downtown Denton is completely underwater following heavy flooding from Tuesday’s storms. Additionally, Winston-Salem emergency officials performed a water rescue as severe weather has hit the Triad, according to officials with the Winston-Salem Fire Department.

Seven residents were evacuated from a Chapel Hill apartment complex after the first floor was flooded. The city is assisting to help those displaced by the flooding.