Thursday marks deadly tornado anniversary - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Thursday marks deadly tornado anniversary


The day started like so many spring days in the East with sunshine and warm weather, but March 28th, 1984 would turn out to be one of the deadliest in our state's tornado history.

Tornadoes started forming in South Carolina during the afternoon and crossed into North Carolina near Maxton at 7:15 that evening. For the next 3 hours the East would be terrorized by a gang of tornadoes, several with winds over 200 mph. By midnight, tornadoes had claimed 57 lives. One of the storms ripped through Faison, Calypso, and then Mount Olive, killing 3 and injuring 149.

The deadliest of the tornadoes dropped from a thunderstorm near LaGrange and tore through Snow Hill, Ayden, Winterville and Simpson. This single tornado out of the cluster of 22, killed 15, injured 153, destroyed 300 homes, and was at times as wide as a dozen football fields. A third of those who died that night were in mobile homes.

Aerial photography the day after the tornado outbreak showed the extent of the damage. From destroyed buildings to uprooted oak trees, the landscape of the East was scarred for years to come. This rare weather event happened when 2 jet streams split apart over a strong temperature boundary.

Most deadly tornadoes in our area happen after dark. NOAA weather radios have weather alarms that will wake you with a weather warning. These are sold at most electronics stores.

Of course, Storm Team 9 keeps you up to date with all the latest, vital severe weather information.

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