Tornado with 110 mph winds rips through Autryville, cleanup now underway

AUTRYVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The small Sampson County town of Autryville is in a state of emergency and is recovering from a tornado that moved through the area Tuesday night.

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The town of about 200 is very thankful that no one was killed during the EF-1 tornado that touched down just after 5 p.m. One person suffered a minor injury.

The tornado brought winds up to 110 mph as it moved through the town. Residents said it ripped through the area within just a few minutes. Weather officials said that tornado was about 100 yards wide and left damage in three different areas. The tornado followed a non-continuous path for around 14 miles, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

“I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting it. I just thought it was just going to be like a high wind. It was just going to pass,” said Paige Stalnaker.

Stalnaker rode out the tornado while hiding under a fire truck at the Autryville Volunteer Fire Department.

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While some experienced the tornado inside a building or under a truck, Danielle Hall drove through the tornado.

“[There were] construction barrels rolling in front of me, all kinds of debris swirling and hitting my car,” she said.

The fire department was likely the hardest hit place in the town. Two of their fire engines and one fire truck are covered in rubble and destroyed. Each vehicle is worth around $420,000.

Some homes did suffer damage from the tornado.

“I’m very thankful that my daughter…soon-to-be wife didn’t get hurt,” said Justin Wilson, whose home was damaged.

Autryville officials enacted a curfew from 7 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The curfew has been lifted.

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