04/13/08 — Tornado strikes

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Tornado strikes

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 13, 2008 11:27 AM

A tornado crossing northwestern Wayne County ripped the roof off a modular home Saturday afternoon and left the family that was hiding in the master bedroom closet homeless.

The funnel cloud, reported moving northwest across Johnson and Wayne counties by officials with the National Weather Service, struck the home at 285 Princeton Road around 3:30 p.m.

The inhabitants, Richard and Denise Clark and their 5-year-old son, Jonah, were unharmed, but their $80,000 home was declared a total loss by emergency officials. The inside ceiling was left intact, but the roof’s shingles and plywood were blown away.

Officials with the American Red Cross set the family up at the Oakland fire station, and volunteers scurried to place their furniture into a tractor-trailer truck before it could be damaged any further by the high winds.

Assistant Fire Chief David Lassiter said a vacant single-wide mobile home was blown into a vacant double-wide across the street from the Clarks’ home.

Moments earlier in Pikeville, two trees fell onto Alice and Alton Richards’ house on Duck Pond Lane. The clocks in the house stopped at 3:05 p.m., they said.

“I was in the den and heard the noise. He said, ‘Get to the basement,’ and I did. That’s how bad it was,” Mrs. Richards said afterward.

“We’ve got tubs. We’ll do something to protect it,” she said. “We’ll be in trouble if it rains tonight.”

Near the Eastern Carolina Athletic Park on Buck Swamp Road, Keith Westbrook of Progress Energy said a possible tornado touched down and took out the Nahunta feeder, putting 1,427 customers out of power for an hour and 42 minutes.

“The crew said three strands of primary (wires) were down near the ball park,” he said. “They said a rotten tree from out of the right-of-way fell and hit the primary line.”

Several other areas in northern Wayne also had reports of trees down but there were no reports of injuries.