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Meteorologists confirm eastern NC tornadoes

The Associated Press

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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (AP) — The National Weather Service is confirming multiple tornado touchdowns in eastern North Carolina, and an emergency management director reports more than a dozen people were taken to the hospital as a result.

Meteorologists said Saturday that while its survey is continuing, they have confirmed EF-2 tornadoes touched down in Pitt and Beaufort counties on Friday. A final assessment was expected late Saturday.

Specifically, the meteorologists said a low-end EF-2 struck near Chicod in Pitt County. A moderate EF-2 hit near Chocowinity and a high-end EF-2 struck Whichards Beach.

On the enhanced Fujita scale, an EF-2 has winds of between 111 mph and 135 mph for a 3-second gust.

Beaufort County Emergency Management Director John Pack said 16 people were taken to the emergency room when the storms passed through around 7:25 p.m. Friday.

Pack said 200 homes were either heavily damaged or destroyed.

"You can track the tornado by the damage." Pack said. "It left a lot damage behind in its approximately five to 10 minutes on the ground."

Pack said the storm appeared to be about 300 yards wide and was on the ground for 10 miles. He said the line of damage started in the west-northwest portion of the county and traveled to the northeast.

At one point, Pack said, 8,000 people were without power. By midday Saturday, the number was down to 300 as 60 power company crews worked across the county. He said power should be restored to the least damaged homes by Sunday.

Pack also said two major farming operations in the county sustained damages, but he didn't have specific details.

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