Severe weather on tap for today

Published 8:57 pm Monday, April 14, 2014

 While many eastern Beaufort County residents are still reeling from the EF-2 tornado that plowed through Pantego on April 7, the National Weather Service is calling for strong to potentially severe thunderstorms today, including the chance of an isolated tornado.

A strong cold front moving in will bring a halt to the warm temperatures Beaufort County has seen of late and send mercury plunging back down into 40s tonight.

According to NWS, showers and thunderstorms are expected throughout the day, with a wind out of the south from 16 to 18 mph. The primary severe weather threats will be damaging wind gusts and an isolated tornado.

Last week’s tornado carved a path of destruction through a stretch of the county between Belhaven and Pantego, taking down trees and billboards in its path. Several homes along Beech Ridge Road were damaged — one completely destroyed as the family who lived there took shelter in a water-filled ditch outside.

Spring tornadoes have proven deadly to eastern North Carolinians in the past. On March 28, 1984, 22 tornadoes ripped through North Carolina, killing 42 people — the deadliest tornado outbreak since North Carolina records have been kept. On April 16, 2011, another outbreak produced 30 tornadoes and 24 North Carolinians were killed with the highest death toll — 12 — in Bertie County.