Local/State

Franklin County residents clean up after possible tornado

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A storm dealt a powerful punch to parts of Franklin County Tuesday evening.

It made some roads impassable, and even forced children to take cover in a church as a possible tornado moved overhead.

Trees are knocked down. Now tarps are up and the clean-up underway.

"I saw some debris going in a circle and I ran into the house, looked out the back porch one more time. I grabbed my wife and went into the middle of the building," said one homeowner.

Around 7 p.m., straight-line winds tossed everything from fences and campers like toys.

"When I started seeing stuff flying I said, 'Oh no, this does not look good,'" said storm victim Stephanie Rapper.

Rapper was overcome by emotion of what could have been on Wynfield Drive

"I said, 'Oh my God. My neighbors have no roof,'" said Rapper.

Among seven trailers and about 20 families, all are accounted for and unharmed.

"They came out," said Rapper. "We came out and everybody started running out checking house to house to make sure everybody was OK."

The Franklin County Sheriff says high winds carved up destruction spanning about a six-mile radius around U.S. Highways 401 and N.C. Highway 98 knocking out power lines and traffic signals.

"There are a lot of roads that have partial lane blockage and have some trees that are near roads," said Sheriff Jerry Jones. "So, it's not really safe to be out as it gets dark."

The force even knocked over headstones at cemetery near Harris Chapel Baptist Church, which was hosting a vacation Bible school.

"We had about 55, 60 kids in the hallway down on their faces," said Pastor William Haley.

"All I heard was wind. It was scary," said Bible school student Miranda Williams.

"They were telling us to get down," said Bible school student Kailey Hunt. "I was just scared and I just started to cry."

At last report, Clifton Pond Road remained closed due to downed trees and power lines.

ABC11 talked to a man who says he and his wife saw a funnel cloud.

"We saw the rotation and all of a sudden we saw debris jump up," said William Kaleel. "I told her head to the bedroom, before we got there it had passed. I knew it was heading to my son's house just up the road, couldn't get to it with all the trees across the road."

Another man says the wind brought a tree limb through one of his windows.

Throughout the area, crews were working to restore power.

» Click here for the latest power outage information from Duke Energy Progress. «

The National Weather Service will be in the area Wednesday to assess the damage and confirm if any tornadoes actually touched down.

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franklin county, wake county, local/state
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