KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – 33 years ago the North and South Carolina experienced one of its deadliest storms coined the Carolinas Tornado Outbreak.
The series of tornados sent an unprecedented 24 individual twisters through the Carolinas and Georgia.
North Carolina saw 11 of those tornados each of which destroyed hundreds of homes.
The outbreak killed 42 people and injured nearly 800 in North Carolina.
Those who remember the storm believe the community responds the same during times of crisis.
“Our community will always banned together,” said Lenoir County Emergency Services director Roger Dail. “It’s neighbor helping neighbor, church helping church, fire departments helping fire departments, and in 1984 I do remember the same thing happening, the community coming together.”
Dail was a first responder when the tornados hit the east.
He said Lenoir County’s emergency services department was created as a result of the outbreak.
The deadly outbreak spread damage across 17 counties in North Carolina:
Nash County: A tornado (F2) touched down between Rocky Mount and Interstate 95. It moved northeastward doing considerable damage to the settlement of West Mount. The path length was 2 miles and the width was around 0.1 miles. No injuries were reported but damage exceeded $500,000.
Sampson, Duplin, Wayne Counties: Five miles northeast of Clinton in central Sampson County an F4 tornado touched down and moved northeast through northwestern Duplin County. The funnel lifted after crossing into Wayne County. This tornado hit the towns of Faison, Calypso, and Mt. Olive where the campus of Mt. Olive College was damaged, killing 3 people and injuring 149. The tornado was 0.8 miles wide and the path length was 21 miles long. Property damage estimated exceeded $5 million.
Wayne and Lenoir Counties: An F3 tornado touched down in extreme southeastern Wayne County and moved northeast at 45 mph into Lenoir County. The funnel lifted before reaching La Grange. This tornado’s path was 0.3 miles wide and 9 miles long. Damage exceeded $5 million and 81 people were injured.
Lenoir, Greene and Pitt Counties: Just northeast of La Grange, an F4 tornado touched down and moved northeast crossing eastern Greene and central Pitt counties. The storm passed just east of Greenville but caused damage to suburbs and a portion of the East Carolina University campus. The path was 38 miles long and 0.7 miles wide. This tornado hit rural areas near Snow Hill and Greenville, plus the towns of Ayden and Winterville. Sixteen people were killed and 153 were injured. Property damage exceeded $5 million.
Bertie County: An F3 tornado touched down just west of Lewiston and moved northeast destroying a mobile home park. There were 19 injuries and 6 fatalities, five of whom were members of the same family. The storm’s path was 6 miles long and about a half mile wide.
Bertie and Hertford Counties: In extreme northern Bertie County an F2 tornado touched down and crossed into Hertford County. The tornado travelled northeast to almost Ahoskie at which point it dissipated. The path was 5 miles long and 0.3 miles wide. Seven people were injured and damage exceeded $500,000.
Hertford County: An F1 tornado touched down near Harrellsville and travelled along the ground for 1 mile. The 0.1 mile wide funnel injured no one but did more than $500,000 in damage.
Gates County: A tornado touched down near the Chowan River south of Gatesville and travelled northeast for 14 miles across the southern portion of the county. Nine homes and seven mobile homes were destroyed, and 39 homes were damaged. This F3 tornado was a half mile wide and caused 2 deaths and 10 injuries.
Chowan and Perquimans Counties: An F2 tornado began as a waterspout in the Albemarle Sound. It moved onshore in southern Chowan County and crossed into southern Perquimans County where one person died and one was injured. The path of this tornado was 6 miles long and 0.1 miles wide. Damage was mostly light.
Click here for additional information on the Carolinas Outbreak of March 28, 1984.