SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Residents of a Hampstead neighborhood said they could tell the storms that passed through the area Thursday night were intense.
Friday, they spent much of the day cleaning up their backyards and homes after the remnants of what was once Hurricane Sally left behind a trail of damage.
Steven Pfaff, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said findings were still preliminary, but he thinks the storm likely spawned an EF-0 tornado, with winds around 75 miles per hour.
Pfaff was in Hampstead Friday morning examining storm damage and planned to also travel to parts of South Carolina to observe additional damage reports.
The NWS also confirmed an EF-0 tornado with winds up to 70 miles per hour “skipped” across the Clear Run and Campus Edge apartments off Racine Drive in Wilmington around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. The twister, which was about 20 yards wide and tracked about 0.15 miles, touched down twice, damaging roofs.
As the storm passed through the region in the late evening, it wasn’t just high winds that caused problems.
Pfaff said the rainfall rate of 4-6 inches per hour combined with the fact the storm moved through around high tide meant the water simply had nowhere to go.
He said the effects of Sally’s remnants are a good reminder that just because a tropical system doesn’t make landfall in Southeastern North Carolina, doesn’t mean it can’t still do damage.
“This storm made landfall in western parts of Florida, the gulf coast area, Alabama, Louisiana, and yet we still had impacts from it 650 miles away from where it moved ashore," he said. "So whenever we are dealing with tropical systems, we’ve got to keep in mind it’s not just a little skinny black line on a map that we are following. The storms can encompass large areas and have far-reaching consequences, and in this case for the Cape fear area we are dealing with significant flooding and a few tornadoes.”