EASTERN CAROLINA - The National Weather Service says it was an EF2 tornado that tore through Eastern Carolina Monday afternoon, damaging and destroying several homes and causing injuries.
An EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale means that wind speeds were between 111 mph to 135 mph. The NWS estimates the path width of the tornado to be between 200 to 300 yards wide. The length has yet to be determined.
The tornado first hit Beaufort County Monday afternoon, causing damage in Pantego and Belhaven before moving to Hyde and Washington Counties.
According to the American Red Cross, five homes on Beech Ridge Road and one home on Highway 264 in Belhaven were damaged or destroyed, affecting 13 people. There were no major injuries or fatalities reported in that area.
Red Cross caseworkers are working to assist the affected families.
Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neal said witnesses reported the tornado picked up a truck with a father and son inside. The tornado then carried the truck over power lines and threw the vehicle into a field. The father and son, identified as Thomas Selby and Antwan, suffered non life-threatening injuries at last check.
According to Beaufort County EMS, the storm also caused power to go out in Belhaven and several vehicle accidents.
In Hyde County, at least one home, located on N.C. 43, has been seriously damaged, emergency officials said.
The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in Eastern Carolina Monday afternoon, causing damage and injuries.
According to the NWS, they can confirm a tornado did touch down in Beaufort County based on visuals evidence. Officials are working to learn the tornado's exact size and EF rating.
A survey team will be heading to the scenes Tuesday morning to evaluate the damage.
The tornado first touched down at about 3:45 p.m. Monday west of Pantego in Beaufort County. The tornado then moved to the west and north side of Belhaven before going to Leechville. The tornado later moved northeast up to Gum Neck in Tyrrell County.
A Tornado Warning was issued for Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington Counties, but has since expired.
The tornado severely damaged a home on Highway 264 going to Belhaven from Pantego.
Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neal said witnesses reported the tornado picked up a truck with a father and son inside. The tornado then carried the truck over power lines and threw the vehicle into a field. The father and son's injuries are non life-threatening, Mayor O'Neal said.
In addition, the tornado damaged several houses along Beech Ridge Road, Mayor O'Neal told NewsChannel 12. As of 5:19 p.m. Monday, 13 people in Belhaven were taken to the ER.
According to Beaufort County EMS, the storm also caused power to go out in Belhaven.
Four traffic accidents happened as a result of the storm, stated Beaufort County EMS. Injuries were minor. Highway 264 outside Belhaven was closed due to one of the wrecks.
Beaufort County EMS reported that trees were down along N.C. 99 in the Pungo area. Trees were also down just off Highway 264, west of Pantego near Broad Creek.
[UPDATE: 4:40 P.M.] The National Weather Service has extended the Tornado Warning to 5:15 p.m. Monday for the following counties.
Dare County (Mainland);
Hyde County (Mainland);
The NWS said their doppler radar continued to track a possible tornado at 4:42 p.m. Monday near Gum Neck, moving northeast at 30 mph. The tornado will be near the Dare County bombing range and East Lake by 5 p.m. and Buffalo City by 5:05 p.m.
According to Beaufort County EMS, there was a possible tornado immediately west of Belhaven earlier Monday afternoon, causing power to go out in Belhaven. Crews are working to restore power.
The above photo was taken in Belhaven by viewer Corey Toppin.
Four traffic accidents happened as a result of the storm, stated Beaufort County EMS. Injuries were minor. Highway 264 outside Belhaven was closed due to one of the wrecks, but is expected to reopen soon.
Beaufort County EMS reported that trees are down along N.C. 99 in the Pungo area. Trees are also down just off Highway 264, west of Pantego near Broad Creek.
[UPDATE 4:20 P.M.] Beaufort County has been removed from the Tornado Warning. Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington Counties will still be under the Tornado Warning until 4:45 p.m.
According to the National Weather Service, at 4:14 p.m. Monday, trained weather spotters reported a tornado northeast of Ponzer. The tornado was moving northeast at 40 mph.
A Tornado Warning has been extended Monday afternoon for several counties in Eastern Carolina.
The National Weather Service reports the following counties will be under a Tornado Warning until 4:45 p.m. Monday:
Hyde County (Mainland);
According to the NWS, a public report at about 3:49 p.m. Monday indicated a tornado on the ground near Belhaven.
At 3:59 p.m., a National Weather Service doppler radar was tracking a tornado 1 mile east of Belhaven, moving northeast at 40 mph.
The NWS reports the tornado will be near:
Kilkenny by 4:20 p.m.
Gum Neck and 9 Miles southeast of Levels by 4:35 p.m.
Frying Pan Landing by 4:40 p.m.
The NWS advises the safest place to be during a tornado is in a basement. Get under a workbench or other piece of sturdy furniture. Ff no basement is available, seek shelter on the lowest floor of the building in an interior hallway or room such as a closet. Use blankets or pillows to cover your body and always stay away from windows.
If in mobile homes or vehicles, evacuate them and get inside a substantial shelter. If no shelter is available, lie flat in the nearest ditch or other low spot and cover your head with your hands.