Tornado rips through Iredell County, residents begin clean up

(Ben Williamson | WBTV)
(Ben Williamson | WBTV)
(Ben Williamson | WBTV)
(Ben Williamson | WBTV)
(Ben Williamson | WBTV)
(Ben Williamson | WBTV)

IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The National Weather Service confirmed that a EF2 tornado with maximum wind speeds of up to 115 mph touched down for about 10 miles in Iredell County Thursday.

Dozens of homes were damaged and several were destroyed by the tornado along Mocksville Highway and Swann Road Wednesday. Cars were smashed by debris and dozens of trees were ripped from the ground.

"Something told me to run for cover, so I ran into my closet," Maxine Mitchell said, who was home alone when the tornado struck. "The whole house was shaking and I could hear the things hitting the house."

A tree branch shot into the side of Mitchell's home and came into one of her rooms. "I was so afraid that I was about to fall apart, and all I could do was pray and that is what I did," Mitchell said.

Several homes were destroyed on Swann Road including the home of Jessica Kelsoe. When the tornado touched down, Kelsoe ended up getting stuck in the house.

"I was kind of stuck. I called my daughter at work and they called the fireman and sent them down this way," Kelsoe said.

The family was able to find some of their pets, but their cars were totaled and their home will most likely by torn down.

"The thing that is hitting us hard is that our great grandparents built this house. They may have to tear this house down and rebuild it," Kelsoe said.

A home was destroyed on Mocksville Highway.

"I was talking to my neighbor and she was telling me to be prepared for what I was going to see," Kris Somers said. Somers was at the beach with her husband when the tornado touched down and arrived home Wednesday night after the storm.

"We are just blessed we were not here," Somers said. "The more you see of your stuff damaged and tore up, it's sad."

Tree service crews, the American Red Cross, Samaritan's Purse and other organizations were helping families clean-up Thursday.

"I am just glad that we are alive. God is good. I am hurt that my house is tore up but at least me, my daughter and my husband are OK," Sharon Welborne said, whose home was damaged in the storm.

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