Raleigh-Sanford, NC Tornado Confirmed as Quarter-Mile Wide EF-3 Tornado (4/16/2011)


This is the latest information on the Raleigh/Sanford tornado. This tornado, which was featured on my blog post, “Tornado in Raleigh, NC”, was on the ground for more than an hour and lasted for 63 miles, was 0.3 miles in diameter, and has officially killed 5 people. This is the statement from the Raleigh NWS office concerning this deadly long-track tornado.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH NC
748 PM EDT SUN APR 17 2011

…TORNADO CONFIRMED NEAR SANFORD…BROADWAY…HOLLY SPRINGS AND
RALEIGH IN LEE AND WAKE COUNTIES COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA…

LOCATION…SANFORD…BROADWAY…HOLLY SPRINGS AND RALEIGH IN LEE AND
WAKE COUNTIES COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA
DATE…APRIL 16, 2011
ESTIMATED TIME…253 PM EDT
MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING…EF3
ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED…160 MPH
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH….0.3
MILES PATH LENGTH…APPROXIMATELY 63 MILES
BEGINNING LAT/LON…35.34N / 79.31W
ENDING LAT/LON…39.96N / 78.41W
* FATALITIES…5
* INJURIES…TOTAL NUMBER UNKNOWN

* THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO
CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT(S) AND PUBLICATION IN NWS
STORM DATA.

…SUMMARY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RALEIGH NC HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO
NEAR SANFORD…BROADWAY…HOLLY SPRINGS AND RALEIGH IN LEE AND WAKE
COUNTIES COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA ON APRIL 16, 2011.

AT 253 PM EDT ON SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 2011 A SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM
PRODUCED A TORNADO THAT TOUCHED DOWN IN NORTHEASTERN MOORE COUNTY
WEST OF CAMERON NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF RED HILL ROAD AND
GILCHRIST ROAD. THE INITIAL TORNADO TOUCHDOWN INTENSITY WAS EF0.
THE TORNADO STRENGTHENED TO AN EF1 AS IT CROSSED HIGHWAY 1 NEAR
WILDLIFE ROAD BLOWING A SINGLE WIDE TRAILER OFF ITS FOUNDATION AND
DAMAGING ANOTHER HOME NEXT DOOR. TORNADO CONTINUED TO INTENSIFY
TO EF3 ALONG LEMON SPRINGS ROAD STRIKING THE ST ANDREWS
SUBDIVISION. ONE FATALITY OCCURRED IN A VEHICLE ALONG LEMON
SPRINGS ROAD. NUMEROUS HOMES WERE COMPLETELY DESTROYED AND SEVERAL
TWO STORY HOMES HAD THEIR UPPER FLOORS REMOVED. WIND SPEEDS WERE
ESTIMATED AT 140 MPH WITH A PATH LENGTH OF OVER A QUARTER MILE.
ADDITIONAL HOMES WERE BLOWN OFF THEIR FOUNDATION ON CEMETERY
DRIVE.

CONTINUING NORTHEAST ALONG CAMERON DRIVE…THE UPPER FLOOR WAS
BLOWN OFF TWO APARTMENT BUILDINGS. THE TORNADO THEN ENTERED AN
INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX ALONG INDUSTRIAL DR WHERE IT MULTIPLE STEEL
CONSTRUCTED RETAIL BUILDINGS WERE DESTROYED IN ADDITION TO AT
LEAST THREE LARGE WAREHOUSES AT THE STATIC CONTROL FACILITY. WINDS
IN THIS AREA LIKELY EXCEEDED 160 MPH. THE TORNADO THEN DESTROYED
THE TRACTOR SUPPLY COMPANY… BIG LOTS… AND LOWES HOME
IMPROVEMENT STORE ALONG HIGHWAY 421. WINDS IN THIS AREA WERE
ESTIMATED AROUND 140 MPH. TWO HOMES WERE BLOWN OFF THEIR
FOUNDATIONS ALONG RICE RD NORTH OF HIGHWAY 42. A FATALITY OCCURRED
ALONG POPLAR SPRING CHURCH ROAD IN A MOBILE HOME. THE TORNADO
CONTINUED NORTHEAST ALONG AVENT FERRY ROAD CROSSING INTO CHATHAM
COUNTY JUST EAST OF HARRIS LAKE.

THE TORNADO WEAKENED TO EF0 AS IT APPROACHED HOLLY SPRINGS. THERE
WAS MULTIPLE TREE AND ROOF DAMAGE ALONG AVENT FERRY ROAD SOUTHWEST
OF HOLLY SPRINGS. THE TORNADO INTENSIFIED TO EF1 WITH WINDS OF 86
MPH AS IT REACHED THE FIRE STATION NUMBER TWO AND THE HOLLY GLENN
SUBDIVISION BEFORE CROSSING HIGHWAY 55 AND TRACKING THROUGH THE
REMINGTON DEVELOPMENT. AVERAGE INTENSITY IN HOLLY SPRINGS WAS EF0
WITH WINDS AROUND 80 MPH.

AT APPROXIMATELY 350 PM AN EF-1 TORNADO…WITH WINDS GREATER THAN
100 MPH…TRACKED NORTHEAST ACROSS TRYON ROAD…BETWEEN LAKE WHEELER
ROAD AND THE RALEIGH GOLF ASSOCIATION GOLF COURSE. SEVERAL HOMES
ALONG TRYON ROAD SUSTAINED DAMAGE FROM FALLEN TREES AS THE
THE TORNADO PROCEEDED NORTHEAST SNAPPING TREES THROUGH A HEAVILY
WOODED AREA ON THE WESTERN PERIPHERY OF THE VILLAGE OF TYRON
SUBDIVISION.

THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST ACROSS SOUTH SAUNDERS STREET WHERE
FOUR BUSINESSES WERE DAMAGED. A BODY SHOP HAD THE MOST SEVERE DAMAGE
WHEN THE ROOF WAS COMPLETELY RIPPED OFF AND THE SIDE WALLS
COLLAPSED. THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO SNAP HARDWOOD TREES AND
POWER-LINES ACROSS MOUNT HOPE CEMETERY AND NEARBY HOMES.

AS THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTHEAST TOWARDS SHAW UNIVERSITY…IT
APPEARED THE TORNADO WEAKENED WITH MOST DOWNED TREES HAVING BEEN
UPROOTED. DORMITORIES AND THE STUDENT CENTER ON CAMPUS HAD WINDOWS
BLOWN IN WITH ROOF DAMAGE.

THE TORNADO STRENGTHENED TO AN EF-2 WITH WINDS GREATER THAN 110 MPH
AS IT CONTINUED NORTHEAST PRODUCING EXTENSIVE TREE DAMAGE IN AN
APPROXIMATE 100 YARD WIDE PATH FROM STONY BROOK DRIVE TO BUFFALO
ROAD. SNAPPED TREES CRASHED ONTO AND THROUGH NUMEROUS HOMES ALL
ALONG THE PATH. IT IS IN THIS AREA WHERE 3 FATALITIES WERE REPORTED
WHEN TWO MOBILE HOMES WERE THROWN 30 TO 50 FEET WHEN THE TIE DOWNS
SNAPPED FROM THEIR ANCHOR POINTS. NEARLY ALL OF THE MOBILE HOMES IN
THE PARK SUSTAINED SOME TYPE OF DAMAGE.

THE EF-2 TORNADO CONTINUED TO MOVE NORTHEAST ACROSS BUFFALO ROAD
NEAR THE CARDINAL GROVE SUBDIVISION. SEVERAL TWO STORY HOMES WERE
COMPLETELY DESTROYED WITH NUMEROUS OTHER HOMES SUSTAINING
MODERATE TO MAJOR DAMAGE.

DAMAGE CONSISTENT WITH AN EF-2 TORNADO CONTINUED WITH WIDESPREAD
DAMAGE IN A 150 YARD WIDE SWATH ALONG FORESTVILLE ROAD. A COUPLE OF
MOBILE HOMES WERE DESTROYED AND SEVERAL TWO STORY HOMES SUFFERED
EXTENSIVE ROOF DAMAGE…WITH CONTINUED NUMEROUS SNAPPED TREES
ON HOUSES.

THE TORNADO WEAKENED OR LIFTED AS IT MOVED NORTHEAST TOWARDS
ROLESVILLE. DAMAGE BECAME VERY SPORADIC AND ISOLATED IN NATURE AS
IT CROSSED THE WAKE AND FRANKLIN COUNTY LINE.

THIS INFORMATION CAN ALSO BE FOUND ON OUR WEBSITE AT
WEATHER.GOV/RAH.

SPECIAL THANKS GOES TO LEE COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT…THE
SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT…HOLLY SPRINGS FIRE DEPARTMENT AND WAKE
COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FOR ASSISTANCE WITH THE SURVEYS.

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2 thoughts on “Raleigh-Sanford, NC Tornado Confirmed as Quarter-Mile Wide EF-3 Tornado (4/16/2011)

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