Aerial photographs have been taken showing the extent of destruction in a coastal North Carolina community after a powerful tornado pierced the city on February 16, killing three people and injuring ten.
Videos from the affected area of Brunswick County showed houses torn from their foundations, heaps of rubble, broken trees and uprooted power lines.
The worst of the destruction was caused in the beachfront community of Ocean Ridge Plantation, according to ABC11 News, with some seriously injured in addition to the three fatalities.
Many were trapped in their homes overnight and rescue workers arrived on Tuesday to search for missing people. Ed Conrow, director of Brunswick County Emergency Management, said there were no outstanding missing persons.
“Last night’s Brunswick County’s tornado was rated high-end EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Damage Scale, with winds estimated at 150 mph,” said the National Weather Service in Wilmington, NC.
“It’s something I’ve never seen before. Lots of destruction. It will be a long recovery process, ”said John Ingram, Brunswick County Sheriff.
Eyewitnesses told reporters that debris flew in circles as the lights went out. They could only see what was happening when lightning struck. One said they saw a trailer move off the ground due to the force of the wind.
The tornado was part of a larger weather pattern that brought freezing temperatures to the US and resulted in mass power outages and weather warnings in the southern states in Texas. More freezing rain is expected in several areas including Alamance, Durham, Granville, and Orange counties.