Weather Service confirms EF1 tornado near Bethel Monday night

BETHEL, N.C. (WNCT) — The National Weather Service in Morehead City has confirmed an EF1 tornado with winds of 80-90 miles per hour touched down near the intersection of Whitehurst Station Road and Highway 30 in Bethel Monday evening.

Meteorologist Bel Melendez and her team from the National Weather Service were in Bethel Tuesday to assess the damage.

“When we first come out to the field to assess a storm, the first thing I do is kind of look around everywhere, see how wide the damage was from this particular storm,” Melendez said. “Try to see how many structures were down, trees, crops, vehicles.”

The tornado uprooted and snapped hardwood trees and significantly damaged an older building before crossing Highway 30.

It then significantly damaged a woodshop storage building and knocked down power lines, the National Weather Service said.

In the process of their investigation, Melendez and her team also interviewed residents who were nearby when the store happened.

Debris from the twister damaged two residential homes; however, no one was injured.

The tornado moved across a crop field where it lifted multiple times before moving into trees that were knocked down and blocked train tracks.

Funnel cloud near an open field in Bethel Monday. C/O: Theresa Latham.

The tornado debris path width was approximately 100 yards with a path length of about half a mile.

“We use various tools back at the office, and we try to get an idea of starting point and end point,” Melendez said. “And about how wide was the debris flow across the area. And that gives us more of a determination of how wide this storm was, or how wide this tornado was that came through this area.”

Crews worked through the night to clear debris from the roads and railroad tracks.

Crews continued to respond to damage reports in the area Tuesday morning.

You can stay up to date and monitor the latest weather changes by downloading the First Alert Weather app. It’s available for free in the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores.

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