The National Weather Service confirmed late Thursday that a tornado touched down twice in Iredell County on Wednesday, damaging up to 20 homes and toppling at least 100 trees.
The Weather Service also confirmed an EF-1 tornado struck Union County. No injuries were reported in the tornadoes.
The Iredell County tornado first touched down as an EF-0 – the lowest ranking on the Enhanced Fujita Scale that rates tornadoes from 0 to 5 according to their maximum winds and damage potential. The second touchdown was a far more intense EF-2, an NWS team found.
The tornado first touched down with maximum winds of 80 mph at about 3:20 p.m. three miles east of Troutman, near the intersection of Aileen and Hillndale lanes.
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The tornado traveled about a mile, snapping and shearing off trees and removing siding from a storage building, before lifting near Musket Lane at about 3:25 p.m.
The second and primary touchdown occurred about six miles east-northeast of Statesville near the intersection of New Salem Road and Mocksville Highway (U.S. 64) at about 3:40 p.m., according to the Weather Service. The tornado traveled 2.8 miles, crossing U.S. 64 and Hunters Ridge Lane before lifting just north of Fifth Creek Road at 3:45 p.m.
The second touchdown had maximum winds of 115 mph. The tornado felled at least 100 trees. Fencing was blown in multiple directions. A brick house had its roof completely torn off, and its interior walls collapsed, according to the NWS.
Tree limbs acted as projectiles and struck another home, embedding into the siding and penetrating the outer walls, according to the NWS team that examined the damage. Numerous homes had debris splattered onto siding with a total of 15 to 20 homes sustaining at least some damage.
The Union County tornado touched down just southwest of Monroe around 4:20 Wednesday evening, and traveled nearly 8 miles. Trees and a few structures were damaged, the Weather Service said. The most extensive damage was to a barn that had its sides and much of its roof ripped off.
In Yadkin County, a possible tornado leveled an elementary school gymnasium.
On Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper told Yadkin County commissioners’ Chairman Kevin Austin that he would make sure the county had whatever state and emergency management assistance the county needed. N.C. Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks was contacting commissioners in other affected counties.
In Charlotte, a tornado watch was in place until 9 p.m., while a flood advisory was also in place for the area. The weather disrupted travel in the city as well, when a downed tree blocked traffic on Interstate 77.
The storms had entered North Carolina moving northeast from South Carolina, and were responsible for a tornado in Saluda, S.C., and tornado warnings in the S.C. counties of Laurens and Union.
LaVendrick Smith; 704-358-5101; @LaVendrickS