National Weather Service surveys damage in Mooresville as storm cleanup continues

IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Iredell County Emergency Management officials say when high winds blew through the county Sunday afternoon, fire departments received over 20 calls from the Mooresville Mount Mourne area.

No one was hurt but the wind brought down several trees.

Joe Gibbs was in his garage on Stone Ridge Lane.

"My wife asked me if they were tornadoes," Gibbs said they then heard a noise. "There was a huge racket of pine needles, whatever debris being thrown up against the house from the wind, then it got so violent that I suggested we go into the laundry room. Grabbed the dog, go into the laundry room, shut the door and within 10-15 seconds we heard a massive crash and we waited a little bit just in case it was a tornado to make sure it was through."

"We came out and we had our chimney sticking through the roof and water going everywhere," he told WBTV.

Gibbs says a  tree in the yard "snapped about 30 feet in the air and carried in the air across a railing, onto the second platform on the deck and then crashed directly into the chimney."

Gibbs says he didn't see see any twisting or hear any roars.

"It was a boom. The vibration - you could hear the wind. When it hit, I expected to see the whole wall out," he said.

A crew from the National Weather Service spent the day looking at downed trees and damage - trying to figure out what exactly happened in Iredell County Sunday afternoon.

Going from location to location, taking a look at the damage distribution and then putting everything together," said Tony Sturey with the National Weather Service. "Damage indicators for many items including trees, buildings, degrees of damage on how strong the winds might be to bring down something like that. After we thoroughly go over everything then we make our final determination."

Sturey, a warning and coordination meteorologist out of the Greenville/Spartanburg office, says it's important to determine what specific weather event passed through the area.

"Some straight line winds that I have done damage surveys on can be 100 mph or more. The tornado is a rotating type of wind where the path might be somewhere from 50 yards to 150 yards .. something even wider," he said. "It gives us an idea of the vulnerability that the area has not only from wind damage but also tornadoes going into the future."

Sturey says he expects to have an answer early Monday evening whether it was straight line winds or a tornado.

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