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Tornadoes kill 3, destroy homes in Georgia, North Carolina

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 7:21 AM EST
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Tornadoes swept through North Carolina and southern Georgia, leaving death and destruction in their wake as the sun rose Tuesday.

North Carolina

A deadly tornado ripped through Brunswick County overnight, severely damaging homes and leaving thousands without power.

The tornado touched down around 11:50 p.m. Monday in the area of Seaside Road and Highway 17.

In a media briefing early Tuesday, Brunswick County Emergency Services Director Ed Conrow said at least three people were killed and ten were injured.

Several homes were reportedly destroyed or heavily damaged. Officials said a majority of the damage is in the Ocean Ridge Plantation community.

Many residents have been relocated, and officials are in the process of setting up a shelter.

“It’s something like I have never seen before. A lot of destruction. It’s going to be a long recovery process,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said.

The sheriff added searches for missing people were underway and will increase during the day. People are asked to avoid the area.

Crews will wait until daylight to survey additional damage.

As of about 5:15 a.m. Tuesday, Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation is reporting over 7,000 customers are in the dark, but crews are working to restore power for those affected.

According to officials, Highway 17 is currently closed in both directions from Thomasboro Road to Four Mile Road.

Georgia

The National Weather Service has reported an “extremely dangerous tornado” touched down late Monday afternoon just east of Damascus.

There was one report of an injury near Damascus, according to a report relayed to the National Weather Service by an emergency manager. There was “significant” damage to a double-wide mobile home and damage to a single-family home near Damascus, according to the storm report.

The community of just a couple of hundred people are still in shock as homes in the community are completely leveled.

A pair of homes that used to house six people turned into rubble in a matter of minutes. Combing through the debris well after sunset, hours after the storm barrelled through, cinderblocks can be seen thrown yards from the house and a truck was thrown into the wreckage.

Latonya Cratic says her mother-in-law was in a closet as her home fell apart around her.

Remarkably, she survived.

“Couldn’t be anyone but God that we all walked away from this unharmed,” Cratic said.

Cratic actually lives a short drive away: Her home was not flattened, but heavily damaged.

“We fell on the floor, we tried to crawl to a closet but there was glass shattering everywhere and fell on the floor, held our kids and prayed,” she recalled.

The family of 11 had four homes throughout Damascus. After Monday, only one remains livable.

The National Weather Service plans to survey the damage Tuesday morning.

From reports by WMBF and WCTV