Storm Bonnie Spawns Tornadoes from Fla. to Va.

August 13, 2004

Severe weather from Tropical Storm Bonnie spawned tornadoes from Florida to Virginia Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, killing three people and destroying numerous homes.

In Rocky Point, N.C., a twister killed three people – including a child – when it rolled through a trailer park early this morning. Another 29 people were injured. According to a Pender County Emergency Management spokesperson, the twister left a two-mile path of destruction through the southeastern town. “We have no damage numbers yet because our people are out there just trying to get things in order,” said spokesperson Jan Dawson.

Another tornado destroyed four homes and severely damaged another 48 in the western section of Harnett County, North Carolina, yesterday afternoon. Another 50 to 60 homes suffered minor damages. “Those numbers are preliminary, we expect the numbers to increase as we continue assessments today,” said Gary Pope, emergency services coordinator for the county.

Pope said emergency officials are going door-to-door today handing out plastic and plywood so residents can prepare their homes for the additional rain Hurricane Charley will bring this weekend.

“We’re trying to check up on all the citizens and secure the area,” said Pope. He added that a brand new community building was also leveled. National Weather Service officials are also in the area today to determine the strength of the twister.

Down in Jacksonville, Florida, a tornado ripped a path of destruction through homes and businesses on the eve of Hurricane Charley’s arrival. A spokesperson for the Duval County Office of Emergency Management said they have no damage estimates yet, but assessments are continuing today and they’re more focused on the impending hurricane at this point.

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton did say during a Thursday press conference that the damage from the tornado is “extensive.”

South Carolina also saw several tornadoes hit Thursday. Nine homes suffered varying degrees of damage in the eastern part of the Fairfield County, according to Fairfield County Office of Emergency Management spokesperson. In Chesterfield County, another twister ripped up sheds and pushed mobile homes around.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie had tornado warnings popping up all along the east coast, ranging from mid-Florida all the way to southern Maryland.

A suspected tornado also collapsed the roofs of several businesses in Danville, Virginia. Heavy rains also caused flash flooding in many states.

As the Bonnie weather system lingers and out-lying bands of storms roll in from Hurricane Charley, tornado warnings are expected to continue all along the east coast throughout Friday and the weekend.

Reproduced with permission from Disaster News Network (www.disasternews.net).

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