MATTHEWS, N.C. — There was widespread damage across Matthews after an EF-1 tornado touched down on Thursday.
The Matthews Building Supply Company was among the hardest hit. Employees say there were at least four buildings damaged or destroyed. Two workers told WCNC Charlotte they were inside a small shed when the tornado hit; one of them immediately ran to a different building, the other stayed behind.
Uriah Sturdivant described what he saw from inside the shed.
“It was a dark funnel cloud,” said Sturdivant. “It was spinning, and it scared me, it scared me senseless.”
Sturdivant said he felt the power of the storm from inside the shed.
“It was like the incredible hulk was outside the shed shaking it really hard, I could hardly keep my balance,” says Sturdivant.
His co-worker, David Schindler, says he was also in the shed when he spotted the tornado, but he immediately ran to a different building.
“I almost went in this building right here, good thing I didn’t because it fell,” said Schindler.
Schindler says he went to a different building that had its wall nearly collapse on him, as he hid under a table.
“Fortunate, very fortunate,” said Schindler.
It was among at least four structures at Matthews Building Supply either damaged or destroyed. Meanwhile, trees of all sizes were split or torn to the ground for miles across Matthews. WCNC Charlotte saw a large tree branch through the roof of a home on W. John Street. Ed Abbott says his aunt and uncle were in the living room where the tree came crashing down, but thankfully were not injured. However, he didn’t know they were ok when he first got the call.
“I’m on duty and I work as a paramedic, and you get that gut wrench feeling, like I have seen a lot of destruction and everything with accidents,” said Abbott.
At noon on Friday, there were still many residents without power in Matthews and police were directing traffic at several lights.
At Matthews Building Supply, workers used heavy equipment to clean up debris. Across the street, a piece of sheet metal was tossed high up into a tree and a trailer was toppled over. However, that little shed with windows busted out was still standing.
“That little shed, it had to be God, because that little shed as small as it as and it took out these gigantic buildings, it was something spectacular, it was a miracle that I made it,” said Sturdivant.
The National Weather Service visited Matthews Friday and determined the damage was from the same tornado that caused damage in neighboring Pineville, south Charlotte, and Union County.
The EF-1 tornado had winds of 95 mph as it moved 17 miles across southern Mecklenburg County.
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