Straight-line winds, not tornado wreaks havoc in Sampson County

SALEMBURG, N.C. (WNCN) – A meteorologist with the National Weather Service said straight-line winds left 14 people injured and destroyed structures late Monday night in Sampson County.

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Brandon Vincent, a general forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Raleigh office, was in Salemburg Tuesday morning to survey the overnight storm’s damage.

“Everywhere we’ve seen damage, it’s been consistent. Everything is blown west to east,” Vincent said.

A tornado would have thrown debris in several directions as opposed to straight-line winds, which pushes everything in one area.

RELATED: 14 injured in Sampson County following severe weather

More than a dozen structures were destroyed by the winds.

A Salemburg poultry farmer told CBS North Carolina he lost 16,000 turkeys in the storm. The NWS said the macroburst hit near numerous turkey houses near the intersection
of Tyndall Bridge and High House roads, east of Highway 242.

“In all likelihood, the winds here were probably hurricane force, 70 to 80 miles per hour and that’s the same as an EF-0 tornado,” Vincent said.

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The winds scaled several miles in width and length, according to Vincent.

A preliminary report by the NWS said the storm’s path was five miles wide and 12 miles in length.

“Every indication so far that we’re seeing, it’s the same pattern – everything is going west to east,” Vincent said.

A week ago, a tornado knocked down or damaged a number of buildings, including the fire department in Autryville, around 8 miles from Salemburg.

Three fire department vehicles, each valued at $420,000 were destroyed in the storm. No one was seriously injured.

RELATED: Autryville pastor captures video of tornado as it passes through town

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