The tornado that damaged parts of South Saunders Street and Shaw University in Raleigh on Saturday afternoon had traveled from Cameron, according to the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Raleigh.
Barrett Smith, meteorologist at NWS in Raleigh, called such a long track for a tornado “unusual, particularly in this part of the country.”
The tornado was more like the type seen in Oklahoma, according to Wake County Emergency Management Coordinator Josh Creighton. Creighton told the Wake County Commission Monday he received a warning call from the National Weather Service Saturday.
“He said, ‘I can see the debris on radar and it’s heading your way,'” Creighton said.
The twister was at its strongest when it hit and destroyed a Lowe’s home improvement store in Sanford, with a maximum wind speed of 160 miles per hour. NWS in Raleigh certified the tornado as an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which rates damage caused by a particular tornado. EF0 tornadoes are least damaging, while those rated EF5 are most damaging, with the highest wind speeds and damage ever recorded.
The Aftermath in Raleigh
Three children at the Stony Brook North mobile home park near Capital Boulevard in northeastern Raleigh lost their lives in the storm. All three were siblings, according to Sarah Williamson-Baker, public information officer for Wake County.
First photo: Cousins Daniel Quistian Nino, 9, (left) and Osvaldo Coronado, 8. (Right) Kevin Coronado, 3, the brother of Osvaldo. Click to view full size.
Williamson-Baker also stated that area hospitals treated about two dozen people for “fairly serious” storm-related injuries.
Wake County operated two shelters for displaced residents Saturday night, one at Heritage High and the other at Southeast Raleigh High. Williamson-Baker put the number of people who slept in the shelters Saturday night at about “a couple hundred.”
“We moved folks from devastated areas in the downtown area to areas with full power and less damage,” she said.
The shelter at Southeast Raleigh High closed at noon on Sunday.
As of Monday morning, the Progress Energy power outage map showed 31,000 customers still without power. That’s down from a peak of 147,000 during and just after the storm, said Mike Hughes, spokesman for the utility.
Five Wake County public schools were closed on Monday: Harris Creek Elementary, Holly Grove Elementary, Holly Grove Middle, Holly Springs Elementary and Moore Square Middle.
All missing persons were accounted for by Monday afternoon, Creighton said.
As of Sunday afternoon Wake County was not accepting volunteers for cleanup or search efforts.
“It’s really dangerous if they’re not trained workers,” said Williamson-Barber. “Even for trained workers not affiliated with the county an insurance issue comes up.”
Those who want to register their interest in providing assistance can call the Wake County Emergency Operations Center at (919) 856-6480.
Raleigh Continues Storm Cleanup
The City of Raleigh road crews are continuing cleanup on city streets. City officials said Raleigh residents should take all storm debris to the curb. Storm debris may also be carried to the Yard Waste Center, 900 New Hope Road. Normal disposal fees will be waived.
Property owners are responsible for removal of construction and repair debris. Owners of residential and commercial properties can take debris to Wake Country disposal sites:
- Red Rock Landfill, 7130 New Landfill Drive, Holly Springs;
- Shotwell Road Transfer Station, 5509 Thornton Road, Raleigh.
Reclaimed animal fees will be waived for two weeks, as well as permit inspection fees. Owners of residential property can dispose of construction and repair debris at the following Wake County sites:
• 10505 Old Stage Road, Raleigh;
• 3600 Yates Mill Pond Road, Raleigh;
• 8401 Battle Bridge Road, Raleigh;
• 3913 Lillie Liles Road, Wake Forest;
• 9008 Deponie Drive, Raleigh;
• 2001 Durham Road – NC 98, Wake Forest.
All disposal sites will operate daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Roads Still Closed Monday
The following major roads will remain closed on Monday due to downed power lines:
- South Saunders Street between I-40 and South Street.
- Maywood Avenue between Lake Wheeler Road and South Saunders Street.
- Forestville Road between Mitchell Mill Road and Old Watkins Road.
- Serendipity Drive.
- Carolina Pines Avenue between Lake Wheeler Road and Henslowe Street.
- Buffaloe Road between New Hope Road and Westminster Road.