Weather News

EF-2 tornado ripped through Emerald Isle during Hurricane Dorian, forecasters say

The tornado that ripped across North Carolina’s Emerald Isle on Thursday as Hurricane Dorian approached the coast was an EF-2, the National Weather Service said Monday.

The tornado had estimated top winds of 115 mph and left a 13-mile path about 200 yards wide on the island, forecasters said.

The tornado started as a waterspout and came onshore near the Bogue Inlet Pier, the NWS said.

“Numerous RV-style homes were tossed and rolled more than 30 feet, ripping out ground anchors that strapped them down,” the NWS said.

Ronnie Watson, owner of the Holiday Trav-L-Park, told the News & Observer he was in the campground office near where the waterspout came ashore when he heard yelling.

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“My grandson and daughter were screaming, ‘Tornado! Tornado!’” Watson told the N&O. “I looked up and saw it coming. So we ran into the bathroom. It sounded like a locomotive.”

Emerald Isle was under a mandatory evacuation and so many in the tornado’s path had already left.

One man was about 130 miles away when he was able to watch the tornado blow his home off the foundation from his doorbell camera, according to the News & Observer.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.