NWS says fatal Bertie County tornado was an EF-3

North Carolina

BERTIE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — The National Weather Service has rated a tornado that left two people dead Tuesday morning in Bertie County, North Carolina, as an EF-3.

The tornado touched down in the Windsor area at 1:15 a.m. Tuesday, stretched for 10 miles, then lifted at 1:26 a.m.

The National Weather Service says in addition to the two people who died, 14 others were injured by the tornado. The sheriff’s office said 10 other people were rescued.

The tornado destroyed seven single-wide mobile homes and “stick-built houses” in the area, the weather service said.

Its estimated peak winds reached 140 to 145 mph, according to the weather service.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) saw the devastation Wednesday firsthand. Cooper says he saw families reeling and entire communities still in shock.

“This is devastating to see what appears to be homes exploding. And you’ve got to believe that some people had some harrowing experiences just to survive,” Cooper said.

Cooper says he also saw hope typical of when North Carolinians face a challenge.

Less than a mile away, volunteers handed out water, meals ready to eat, masks, and American Red Cross cleanup kits at Cedar Land Baptist Church.

Rosemary Swain doesn’t have insurance. She lives along Morning Road, a mobile home community near Windsor that was obliterated early Tuesday morning.

The two fatalities were in the area of Morning Road. The Bertie County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday the man and woman who died were found in separate trailers.

Bertie County Sheriff John Holley says 62-year-old Randolph Harrell and Lethia Ann Edwards, 52, were killed in the storm. Swain says Edwards was her cousin and her body was recovered in nearby woods.

“The roof of the porch came off and the wind came through, it pushed in my whole living room and threw me from one side of the room to the next,” Swain said. “I just ran down the hallway and got down low and that’s what saved me.”

The supplies at Cedar land Baptist Church will help people like Josephine Cherry get back on her feet.

“(The supplies) are very important. Now I don’t have to go out and buy the stuff.”

Neighbors are having a hard time believing what they saw and experienced, and now in the aftermath, a hard time getting through the hot summer days. For Shelia Craig, the volunteers and their supplies are a Godsend.

“We don’t have any ice and it’s very hot and I was wondering how we were going to get some water, so I’m glad to get this,” Craig said.

After far as the exact path of the tornado, it touched down near the intersection of Knowles Lane and Middle Track Road. It then traveled north northwest and reached its strongest point just south of the Town of Woodard as it crossed Morning Road.

The information released by the weather service is still preliminary and is subject to change pending further review of the event, the weather service said.

Other areas hit by tornadoes from Isaias include James City County, CourtlandSuffolk and Gloucester County in Virginia.

Bertie County officials say if you are displaced from Tropical Storm Isaias, call 252-794-6144. If you are a family member looking to receive a status update about a family member who is missing, please leave the missing persons’ name and a contact number with a county staff member at 252-794-6144.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates.

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