Update: Governor Pat McCrory tours tornado damage in Beaufort Co - WRBL

Update: Governor Pat McCrory tours tornado damage in Beaufort County

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WASHINGTON, N.C. - Governor Pat McCrory toured tornado damage in Beaufort and Chowan County on Sunday.

McCrory was joined by Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry, and North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.

"This is massive destruction that hit a lot of neighborhoods in North Carolina in a very short period of time," said McCrory.

McCrory spent about an hour visiting with families and taking a look at the damage. Shirley Edwards' home on Whichards Beach Road was one of stops on McCrory's visits.

"It's very humbling. He didn't have to take his time and come here. He could have stayed at home and looked at the pictures on the television, but he didn't.  He took the time to ride down here and that means a lot to you that  he just took that personal time," said Edwards.

McCrory and the other state officials also toured tornado damaged ares in Chowan and Pasquantank Counties.

Beaufort County Emergency Management officials say 31 people suffered tornado related injures. Officials say early damage estimates in the county are more than $2-million dollars. Governor McCrory says beginning on Monday,  state officials will start official damage assessments so they can begin applying for aid.

Beaufort County Commissioners issued a State of Emergency Ordinance on Friday. .

The State of Emergency was issued as of April 25th at 10:30p.m and will continue until Monday morning. This comes after several areas in the county were damaged by Friday's tornadoes.

Emergency officials say the areas impacted included Pinetown, Chocowinity, and Washington.

Marion Ray Pippin lives on Asbury Church Road in Washington. Pippin says when he saw the tornado coming he and his wife hid in the bathroom.
"It was here and gone before you could turn around," said Pippin.

Pippin and his wife are ok, however, the house was badly damaged.

"I went outside, looked at the roof gone, and the ceiling falling down," said Pippin.

The National Weather Center's preliminary report finds that an EF3 tornado caused the damage in Beaufort County.

Emergency Management Coordinator John Pack says 16 people suffered injuries from the storm and had to be transported to the hospital. One of the people transported, 94-year-old Essie Floyd. According to Floyd's family she was sleepy when the tornado turned her home upside down and threw her into the yard. Floyd's family says luckily she nly suffered several lacerations and broken right hand. 

"I was just glad that she was still  alive. She's a feisty old lady and she was given the doctors a fit this morning, so that tells me she's doing ok," said Floyd's grandson, Eric Wilson. 

Nealy 200 homes in Beaufort County were either heavily damaged or destroyed.

As of 1:00 p.m. Saturday, Tideland Electric Membership Corporation
restored power to all homes capable of being reconnected at this time. At the peak of the storm, 3,238 members lost power.

Heidi Jernigan Smith, Manager of Economic Development, Marketing & Corporate Communications, wrote in a statement: "We have approximately 39 homes in a manufactured housing community in Washington that remain without power as assessments are made as to the structural integrity of those homes."

The Red Cross opened up a shelter at the Snowd Branch Church of God. Autum Mihm, the organization's public information officer says 16 people stayed overnight. The shelter is expected to stay open until people find homes to stay.

Click here to view tornado damage in the Douglas Crossroads area of Beaufort County. The aerial video was taken by Tideland EMC employee Walter O'Neal.

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