• NWS: Tornadoes touched down in Lincoln, Gaston, Alexander counties Friday

    By: Stephanie Tinoco

    Updated:

    LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. - The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes touched down in the Charlotte region during Friday afternoon's severe weather. 

    The first touched down in Gaston County and traveled into Lincoln County, while the second was recorded in Alexander County. 

    [PHOTOS: Damage from Friday's strong storms]

    The National Weather Service sent a crews to Lincoln, Alexander, and Catawba counties to survey damage in the aftermath of Friday's severe weather. 

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    A tornado warning was issued for Lincoln County around 3:45 p.m. The NWS told Channel 9's Stephanie Tinoco a weak tornado started in northwest Gaston County around 3:30 p.m. and moved northeast into the Lincolnton area. 

     

    "It does look like we've had a weak tornado that started in the extreme northwest Gaston County and moved northeast into the Lincolnton area," Tricia Palmer from the National Weather Service said. "Most of the structural damage we're seeing today is the trees falling on the houses."

     

    >> We first updated WSOCTV news app users with a notification at 4:15 p.m. Saturday that the NWS had confirmed a tornado touched down in Gaston County. Download the WSOCTV news app for your smartphone and get updates on this developing story as they come in.

    NWS officials said the tornado is classified as an EF-0, which means it had winds between 65 and 85 mph. For this storm, the estimated wind speeds were 76 mph and the path of the storm was just over 7-miles long. 

     

    "The first thing we look at is, did we see something on radar that we justify a tornado and in this case, we did," Palmer said. 

    A Channel 9 viewer sent in a photo of the funnel cloud in Lincoln County. 

    Officials confirmed a second tornado touched down in Alexander County around 4:10 p.m. near Hiddenite. 

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    Crews classified that storm as an EF-1 tornado, which means it had winds between 86 and 110 mph. National Weather Service meteorologists reported Alexander County's tornado had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and only traveled just over a half mile. 

    They also said no one was injured in that particular storm. 

    The National Weather Service said they really pay attention to the path of how trees fall because the way a tree falls can be helpful to determine if and when a tornado has hit an area. 

     

     

    Storm damage reported in Lincoln County 

    Lincolnton was an area hit especially hard during Friday's severe weather with dozens of reports of downed trees and more than a thousand people without power as the storms pushed through. 

    Meteorologist Tony Sadiku spoke with Lincoln County resident Spencer Pendleton, who was inside his home on North Laurel Street when he looked outside and saw a large tree rocking back and forth moments before crashing down on his jeep. 

    He said the tree was the first thing anyone saw when they came to his house. 

    "To know that part of our house is gone is mind blowing honestly," Pendleton said. "To know this house is never look the same is hard to grapple with right now." 

    [ALSO READ: Grandfather injured after tree crashes through Gaston County home, family says]

    Pendleton said thankfully, no one was hurt when the tree came down. But, he said the jeep was his birthday present. 

    Channel 9's Stephanie Tinoco spoke with Lincoln County resident Johnathan Willis, who walked her through some of the aftermath left behind in the area. 

    "We've never seen no damage like this from anything,"" Willis said. "The wind picked up, you couldn't see nothing outside. Debris was flying everywhere." 

    Willis said on his property, a wooden fence was uprooted from the ground and a tree nearly missed a house and crushed a nearby garage. 

    "Literally it look the post up out of the ground and just threw them back over here in this next yard," Willis said. "We're thankful nobody was hurt." 

    Red Cross officials said crews from the Blue Ridge Piedmont Chapter are heading to Maiden and Lincolnton to help families impacted by Friday's storms. 

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