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28 tornadoes that killed 24 in NC set a new record, weather service confirms

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This is a map showing where tornadoes hit and their paths. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) This is a map showing where tornadoes hit and their paths. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Yaire Quistian-Nino (Source: WRAL) Yaire Quistian-Nino (Source: WRAL)
A funnel cloud was spotted near Wilson, NC. A funnel cloud was spotted near Wilson, NC.

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV/WRAL/AP) –  The National Weather Service says the fearsome storms that swept across North Carolina set at least one record.

The Raleigh forecast office says meteorologists around the state have confirmed that at least 28 tornadoes touched down across the state on Saturday.

The only other time where so many twisters landed in a single day was 1984, when about 22 tornadoes were confirmed. There were initial reports of more than 60 tornadoes, but many of those could have been multiple sightings of the same twister.

Some of the tornadoes traveled long distances and stayed on the ground for longer periods.

Last weekend's storms killed at least 24 people statewide and damaged thousands of buildings. Final costs of the storms are likely to be measured in hundreds of millions of dollars.

A baby who died on Tuesday morning in Raleigh was among four children who died from one tornado that hit a part of that city.

The North Carolina Emergency Management Office has received reports of 24 deaths associated with the storms, and 133 people received injuries.

Related: National Weather Service report on tornado touchdowns and paths

The baby who died 3 days after the storms was an occupant of the Stony Brook community in Raleigh that was devastated by the storms, according to police in Raleigh. Several other children died when the mobile home park was hit by a tornado.

Six-month-old Yaire Quistian-Nino was critically injured as her mother tried to protect her, her brother and two cousins at the Stony Brook North mobile home park during the storm, WRAL reported.

The other three children – Daniel Quistian-Nino, 9, Osvaldo Coronado-Nino, 8, and Kevin Uriel Coronado-Nino, 3 – were killed instantly when a large tree slammed down on the mobile home in which they were trying to ride out the storm.

Wednesday morning, the Associated Press released the total number of fatalities per county which are as follows: Bertie (12), Bladen (4), Wake (4), Lee (2), Cumberland (1), and Harnett (1).

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue gave an update of state and federal efforts during a press conference in downtown Raleigh Wednesday morning and she reported the following updates from emergency assessments taking place around the state:

  • 133 injuries;
  • 439 homes confirmed destroyed, with that number expected to rise;
  • 6,189 homes with some level of damage (5,000 reported in Wake County alone);
  • 21 businesses destroyed, likely more to come;
  • 92 businesses damaged, with that number expected to rise;
  • 2,000 employees confirmed out of work because their place of business was destroyed or damaged (1,000 of those employees are at Static Control in Lee County, which was demolished) and that number is considered a low early estimate.

Perdue says she is grateful for the quick turnaround by the White House to send federal assistance after last weekend's deadly tornadoes.

The Governor said she was pleased to see President Obama quickly issue the disaster declaration. The decision means people and businesses in 10 counties and local governments in 18 counties can receive grants and loans. Perdue expects more counties to be added.

Charlotte-area groups respond

Meanwhile, lots of people from the Charlotte region are heading to the eastern part of the state to assist the victims of the storms.

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team sent chaplains to four areas of the state hardest hit by the tornadoes. They will be working in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Sanford and Windsor.

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team also deployed in coordination with Samaritan's Purse, the international Christian relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, who is also president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. 

Earlier this week, the Carolina Piedmont Region of the Red Cross deployed nearly a dozen volunteers to help with relief efforts.

The Burke County Chapter deployed one volunteer and the Catawba Valley Chapter (Catawba, Caldwell and Alexander counties) sent two people and its Emergency Response Vehicle.

In addition, the Gaston County Chapter sent two volunteers. The Greater Carolinas Chapter (Mecklenburg and Iredell counties) sent five people and its ERV. The Union County Chapter sent one volunteer.

North Carolina was the hardest hit by a ferocious storm system with twisters that ripped through the South, killing at least 45 people across six states. Click to read related story.

Storms wrek havoc across state

By late Friday night, the system moved into North Carolina bringing lots of rain. An estimated five inches of rain fell in parts of Watauga County causing streams and creeks to rise rapidly.

On Saturday, the heavy rain continued caused flooding in some areas in the mountains and foothills. Some campers in Caldwell County had to be rescued from the rising water Saturday morning. Click to read related story.

After several rounds of morning rain, a strong line of thunderstorms rolled into the Charlotte metro around noon.

Tornado warnings were issued for Rowan and Union counties in the early afternoon. The storms caused damage to 18-20 homes in Rowan County. Click to read about the storm damage in Rowan County.

As the storms moved east and mixed with warmer, more unstable air, they strengthened.

By 4 p.m. on Saturday, the storm line had reached the Raleigh area, prompting multiple tornado warnings from South Carolina up to Virginia. The storm left a trail of damage and destruction in its wake.

Saturday's storm is the most devastating to hit the Carolinas since March 1984. When all the damage surveys have been completed, it is possible this weekend's storm will rival the 1984 event when 22 tornadoes hit the Carolinas.

Donations accepted to help victims

The governor urges North Carolinians to support each other and help the storm survivors in whatever ways they can.

The Raleigh Salvation Army has requested baby formula, diapers, hygiene products and cleaning supplies to supplement the food and clothing.

You can drop off these items on Wednesday, April 20, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. The ticket office is located on the second floor of Smith Tower, at the speedway's main entrance on the corner of N.C. Highway 29 and Bruton Smith Blvd.

The N.C. Disaster Relief Fund is also accepting monetary donations. The fund is managed by the Governor's office in partnership with the United Way of North Carolina. Donations are tax deductible and 100 percent of donated funds will go to survivors. To donate or get information about the fund, please go to www.ncdisasterrelief.org or mail donations to NC Disaster Relief Fund, Office of the Governor, 20312 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-0312.

People who want to volunteer or donate goods can call the Governor's Hotline toll free 1-888-835-9966. The hotline will be staffed daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Copyright 2011 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

 

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