Three residents were killed and ten injured when a tornado swept through southern Brunswick County, North Carolina, on Monday night.
“Preliminary data from the National Weather Service indicates the tornado was a ‘high-end’ EF-3 with estimated wind speeds of 160 miles per hour, making it one of the strongest tornadoes to ever hit southeastern North Carolina,” WECT reported.
The twister touched down around 11:50 p.m. near Seaside Road and Highway 17, then crossed the highway into a rural area, according to Ed Conrow, who is director of Brunswick County Emergency Services.
“A community of residential homes was impacted, we had several homes that were destroyed, several that were severely damaged. Unfortunately, we had 10 injuries that we can report at this time and we had three confirmed fatalities at this time,” he told reporters.
Reporter Rob Way tweeted photos on Tuesday of the devastation left behind:
BREAKING: Three people are dead and 10 are injured after a tornado ripped through Brunswick County, North Carolina overnight.
The sheriff's office who took these photos says several homes have been destroyed. pic.twitter.com/MHAQp5gTRs
— Rob Way (@RobWayTV) February 16, 2021
Aerial footage showed severely damaged houses and other buildings:
WATCH: Aerial footage reveals the devastation in North Carolina after a tornado swept through the state's coastal Brunswick County, late on Monday.
— CTV News (@CTVNews) February 16, 2021
The most damage occurred in Ocean Ridge Plantation, but another neighborhood off Old Shallotte Road was also affected, Conrow explained.
“We have serious destruction in [the Ocean Ridge] neighborhood, we have homes that are knocked over. We have a lot of hard work to do as a community to get it back to normal, to get it safe for the residents to go back in. It is a very hazardous situation,” he said.
Gov. Roy Cooper is scheduled to visit the area on Wednesday afternoon, ABC 11 reported.
In a tweet Tuesday, the governor said help was on the way for those affected by the tornado:
At least three deaths, a number of injuries and damage to dozens of homes caused by a fierce tornado in Brunswick County last night. I have spoken with Sheriff Ingram and County Commission Chair Thompson, and the state has sent help. Our prayers are with them all. – RC
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) February 16, 2021
“It’s like bombs went off in some of the houses,” one resident said of the severe weather event.
“It’s something unlike I have ever seen before,” commented Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram, adding, “A lot of destruction. It’s going to be a long recovery process.”