• NWS determines spring storm spawned tornado in Lake Wylie

    By: Mark Barber


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - On Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service was in Lake Wylie and determined that a tornado was responsible for extensive damage in the Timberlake neighborhood.

    NWS officials were still determining how large the tornado was.

    Channel 9 visited the neighborhood on Monday and saw dozens of trees snapped in half, siding peeled off of homes and roofs ripped apart.

    Officials told Channel that is straight-line winds were to blame, then all the damage would only run in one direction. While it’s easy to see the damage to the homes, you have to look closer to find the signs of the tornado's circulating winds.

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    Even though the tornado was spinning in one direction, pine needles blew the opposite way, back up against the side of homes.

    At least one house was damaged so badly that the homeowner still cannot move back in. Many others need new roofs and siding.

    The cleanup will last weeks and will certainly cost homeowners, or their insurance companies, thousands of dollars.

    Neighbors never saw a funnel hit the ground on Sunday, but they told Channel 9 they saw enough to know a tornado touched down.

    "Within seconds, all of a sudden the wind just started whirling all around and everything just started flying all over the house and we were just trying to look for cover," said Al Vesting.

    The National Weather Service is now looking at the areas that were damaged north and south of the neighborhood to figure out what the tornado will be rated on the EF scale.

    The same system also caused major damage across Iredell County, but the NWS said that was not a tornado.

    The National Weather Service surveyed the damage there on Monday, and determined microbursts were to blame. Winds were clocked between 70 mph to 80 mph.

    [Cleanup continues after harrowing storm: 'It was like a whirlwind']

    On Monday, the National Weather Service in Raleigh confirmed that a tornado with 135 mph winds rumbled through Greensboro on Sunday, leaving thousands without power and canceling classes in the local school system. One person was killed in the North Carolina storm, in addition to three others who died in other parts of the country.

    Some roads were blocked by downed trees and power lines, and traffic lights were either knocked down or destroyed. City Manager Jim Westmoreland said at least 20 homes and businesses were destroyed in the storm.

    Westmoreland said an emergency evacuation center was opened to help people who were displaced.

    "This is a significant event," Westmoreland said. "It's going to take us a while to get things back in a state of good repair and order."

    [IMAGES: April 15 storm photos]

    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.

    Cooper said more than 33,000 people were without power early Monday afternoon, with 21,000 in Guilford County.

    To the north, Boston Marathon contestants ran in a drenching rain with temperatures in the mid-30s and wind gusts above 30 mph. Runners weren't the only ones suffering.

    "I was only spectating and it was awful," said Tracy Morgan Stuart of Raleigh, who was at the race to cheer on friends. "Lots of people were going into the medical tent. I felt so sorry for all those poor runners."

    Two tornadoes were also confirmed in central South Carolina as storms swept across the state.

    The National Weather Service said Monday tornadoes touched down in the towns of Lexington and Irmo, west and northwest of Columbia.



    More than a dozen homes were damaged as trees and power lines fell, blocking roads in many cases.

    No serious injuries were reported in South Carolina.

    By early Monday afternoon, more than 4,000 electric customers were still without service. Duke Energy reported about 2,100 customers without service, most in Lancaster and Fairfield Counties.

    South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. had nearly 2,000 customers without service, almost all were in Lexington and Richland counties.

    (The Associated Press contributed to this article.)

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