Tornadoes swept through North Carolina and South Georgia, leaving death and destruction behind as the sun rose on Tuesday.
A deadly tornado raced through Brunswick County overnight, badly damaging homes and leaving thousands without power.
The tornado landed on Monday around 11:50 p.m. in the area of Seaside Road and Highway 17.
In a news conference early Tuesday, Ed Conrow, director of Brunswick County Emergency Services, said at least three people were killed and ten injured.
Several houses were reportedly destroyed or badly damaged. Officials said much of the damage is in the Ocean Ridge Plantation Community.
Many residents have been relocated and officials are in the process of setting up an animal shelter.
“It’s something I’ve never seen before. Lots of destruction. It will be a long recovery process, ”said John Ingram, Brunswick County Sheriff.
The sheriff added that the search for missing people is ongoing and will increase as the day progresses. People are asked to avoid the area.
The crews wait until daylight to investigate additional damage.
At around 5:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation reports that more than 7,000 customers are in the dark, but crews are working to restore power for those affected.
According to official information, Highway 17 is currently closed in both directions from Thomasboro Road to Four Mile Road.
The National Weather Service reported an “extremely dangerous tornado” that landed east of Damascus late Monday afternoon.
There was one report of an injury near Damascus, according to a report forwarded to the National Weather Service by an emergency manager. According to the storm report, there was “significant” damage to a double-width mobile home and damage to a single-family home near Damascus.
The community of just a few hundred people is still in shock as the houses in the community are completely leveled.
A few houses that previously housed six people turned to rubble within minutes. If you comb through the rubble well after sunset, hours after the storm, you can see cinder blocks just a few feet from the house and a truck has been thrown into the rubble.
Latonya Cratic says her mother-in-law was in a closet when her home fell apart around her.
Remarkably, she survived.
“Could be none other than God that we all walked away from this unscathed,” said Cratic.
Cratic actually lives a short drive away: her house wasn’t flattened, it was badly damaged.
“We fell on the floor, we tried to crawl to a closet, but glass shattered everywhere and we fell on the floor, holding our children and praying,” she recalled.
The family of eleven owned four houses across Damascus. After Monday only one remains worth living.
The National Weather Service plans to investigate the damage on Tuesday morning.
From reports by WMBF and WCTV