EF-2 Tornado damages several homes, knocks out power

Police investigate storm damage in east Charlotte.

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by NewsChannel 36 Staff / Associated Press

WCNC.com

Posted on March 2, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 11:38 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --  A powerful EF-2 Tornado left  a trail of destruction across parts of northeast Mecklenburg and southern Cabarrus counties early Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service says the Tornado touched down around 2:30am Saturday.  It left behind a path of destruction nearly four miles long, bringing with it winds up to 135 miles per hour.  According to officials, the tornado was 200-250 yards wide.

Several homes were damaged after the tornado moved through the Charlotte area, and three people were injured.

A Reedy Creek neighborhood had reports of six homes damaged from the wind between Robinson Church Road and I-485  in northeast Mecklenburg County.

The three victims were transported to Carolinas Medical Center after suffering injuries from the severe weather.

Cabarrus County spokeswoman, Aimee Hawkins, said the damage was centered in the Steeple Chase neighborhood.

"Approximately 20 homes were damaged in the Steeple Chase neighborhood near Harrisburg," Hawkins said. "About five of those homes suffered significant damage and are not habitable."

Two shelters have been set up at Reedy Creek Elementary in east Charlotte and Hickory Ridge High School in Harrisburg for those who have no place to call home after the tornado.

The Red Cross reported about 45 people arrived at the shelter early Saturday morning.

"Thankfully no one was seriously hurt in this storm," said Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx.

On Saturday afternoon, Foxx told reporters he's signed paperwork seeking federal aid for recovery.

More than 1,700 people were without power in Mecklenburg County Saturday morning and 1,100 in Cabarrus County were in the dark at 8 a.m.

York, Chester, Caldwell, Cleveland, Lincoln, Gaston, Catawba, Alexander, Avery and Burke counties were under a tornado watch until 5am on Saturday, but the heaviest damage came in Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties.

The same system that swept through Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties early Saturday morning, blew in from the midwest were the death toll is on the rise.

Ky. tornado death toll rises to 17

WEST LIBERTY, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky emergency management officials say another body has been found in south-central Kentucky, raising the state's death toll to 17 people killed by violent storms.

Authorities say they found Lizzie Pittman's body in East Bernstadt, Ky., south of Lexington. Her husband Wilburn Pittman also was killed.

More than 30 people have died around the country in Friday's tornado outbreak.

Authorities and emergency rescue crews were still searching Kentucky's hardest hit areas Saturday for possible victims. Approximately 300 people have been injured.

Officials say two people died in Menifee County and two people were killed in Johnson County. Officials say there were two deaths in Lawrence County. Laurel County was the hardest hit with four deaths, while three died in Morgan County and three others were killed in Kenton County.
 

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