Several people were sent to the hospital and a section of Interstate 95 was shut down after a large tornado touched down in northeastern North Carolina Wednesday afternoon.
The confirmed tornado was reported on the ground near Rocky Mount, North Carolina, which is about 44 miles northeast of Raleigh, just after 12:30 p.m. EDT. Shortly after 4 p.m., local time, the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Raleigh, North Carolina, found at least EF2 tornado damage in Dortches, North Carolina, indicating winds had reached up to 135 mph. The rating is preliminary as the storm survey is still ongoing.
According to WRAL News Producer Ashley Foster, several people were transported to Nash General Hospital in Rocky Mount following the tornado.
According to Foster, the twister created significant damage to the Pfizer manufacturing facility, which is located in Rocky Mount. In a photo she shared on Twitter, a large swath of the roof could be seen caved into the building. Pfizer issued a statement Wednesday afternoon confirming that there were no serious injuries at the facility that was damaged during the storm.
Photos shared on Twitter show the wedge-shaped tornado on the ground north of Rocky Mount.
— Preston Harris (@WxPreston97) July 19, 2023
As the twister traveled northeast, it crossed over several roads and a portion of Interstate 95. A traffic camera on I-95 in Dutches, North Carolina, shows vehicles at a complete standstill close to where the tornado likely passed over.
Both directions of I-95 were temporarily shut down to allow crews to clear the highway of debris, and were reopened shortly after 3 p.m. EDT, the Nash County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook update.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said on Twitter that he had spoken with the sheriffs of Nash and Edgecombe counties about the tornado damage. “State personnel are helping get roads open and providing other assistance as needed,” Cooper said.
The Edgecomb County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were working in the Battleboro and Whitakers areas in the aftermath of the twister. “There is scattered damage and power lines down in the area,” the sheriff’s office said.
In a video shared on Twitter, trees could be seen scattered along a road while the windows of a vehicle are completely knocked out. The Twitter user who shared the video wrote, “We were just in a tornado.”
“A reported tornado moved through the northern part of the city a short time ago. City crews are responding to power outages and downed trees,” Rocky Mount city officials wrote on Facebook. “Residents are urged to avoid areas north of Thomas A. Betts Parkway and the Battleboro vicinity.”
Produced in association with AccuWeather
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