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April 19th, 2011

Tornadoes Cripple North Carolina

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families in North Carolina. In an amazing feat of nature, North Carolina was hit with 60 tornadoes. It struck many people by surprise as they were not expecting a twister to touch down. Over four hours on Saturday night, the people of North Carolina learned that a hurricane is not the only force of nature that can strike their state. Bertie County was the hardest hit, most of the homes were demolished and 11 people lost their lives. Officials said at least 21 people died across the state, more than 130 were seriously injured and more than 800 homes were destroyed or damaged. At least 45 died across the South. These types of conditions that created the deadly weather systems may normally appear once or twice a year in the tornado-prone Great Plains, but almost never in North Carolina.

Governor Beverly Perdue, like governors in three other Southern states, declared a state of emergency. Yesterday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported that it had 12 teams in North Carolina, one in Alabama, and three in Mississippi. Initial reports said 60 tornadoes were spawned by the storm system in North Carolina.

The worst of it was between roughly 2:53 p.m. Saturday, when the first fatal twister touched down on the edge of Moore County in the central part of the state, and 6:55 p.m., when a tornado hit Bertie. The storm continued losing and gaining strength as it cut a path to the northeast, entering Raleigh 10 minutes before 4 p.m. Again, luck or planning kept people safe. The twister whipped through crowded neighborhoods, felling trees, smashing crypts in a cemetery, and causing so much damage to Shaw University that the school canceled the remaining two weeks of its spring semester. When the storm hit a trailer park about five miles north of downtown, it killed several people. Cousins Daniel Nino, 9, and Osvaldo Coronado, 8, died along with Osvaldo’s 3-year-old brother, Kevin, when a tree fell on a mobile home where they were huddled together.

If you wish to help The American Red Cross will conduct a special one-day telephone fundraiser on Tuesday April 19, 2011. It is called “NC Tornadoes: Heart of Carolina Cares.” People can donate at any time by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. I understand that it’s a lot going on in the world. From Japan to a tornado in North Carolina, the pressures of the world are great. But it’s times like these that people show their true courage and persevere. My thoughts and my prayers are with the people of North Carolina and as long as they do not give up hope they will surely make it through this.

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