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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“22 killed, at least 80 injured in North Carolina storm”

Several busses and cars were overturned at Page Middle School on Sunday, April 17, 2011 after a strong storm swept through Williamsburg, Virginia. (Rob Ostermaier/Newport News Daily Press/MCT)
Several busses and cars were overturned at Page Middle School on Sunday, April 17, 2011 after a strong storm swept through Williamsburg, Virginia. (Rob Ostermaier/Newport News Daily Press/MCT)

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina officials reported Sunday that 22 people died as a result of the severe storms that swept across the state during a six-hour stretch Saturday.

North Carolina Emergency Management said the deaths occurred in Bertie, Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Johnston, Lee and Wake counties.

Half of the deaths occurred in Bertie, a rural county in the northeast corner of the state with more than 700 square miles of land and just 21,000 residents.

The storm cut a wide swath across the county, flattening houses and tossing around farm equipment and vehicles, said Zee Lamb, Bertie’s county manager.

“”We had several fatalities at the same location but they weren’t all at the same location. They were spread out over several miles,”” he said. “”A lot of them were in their homes. … There are homes that are just totally leveled. Anybody who was in those homes could not have survived.””

The fatalities included several elderly residents of an assisted living facility that was in the path of the storm, Lamb said.

Across the state, more than 80 people have been transported to local hospitals, some with severe injuries. Gov. Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency for all of North Carolina on Saturday evening.

The declaration is a prerequisite for asking for federal disaster assistance. More than a dozen North Carolina counties have also declared local states of emergency, including Wake, Cumberland and Bertie counties. Initial damage estimates say 60 homes have been completely destroyed and more than 400 others sustained damage across the state.

In Raleigh, downed trees and a lack of power continue to plague the neighborhoods most damaged by Saturday afternoon’s severe storms.

The city of Raleigh identified five areas that were hit hardest by the storms: South Saunders Street near Western Boulevard; Stony Brook mobile home park in northeast Raleigh, where three people died; the neighborhoods surrounding Shaw University in Southeast Raleigh; and Buffaloe Road and New Hope Road area; and the Yonkers Road area.

Raleigh has roughly 30 teams made up of members of the Parks and Recreation, Public Utilities and Public Works departments working to clear away debris, the city reported in a press release.

Wake County has 14 assessment teams out surveying damage.

The city is working with Progress Energy in areas where power lines are down. Raleigh and Wake County officials are limiting the volunteer opportunities until repairs are made.

“”We’re asking people that are not trained workers, that are not working in an official capacity, to stay home,”” said Wake County spokeswoman Sarah Willamson-Baker.

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