NC governor declares state of emergency

Storm damage in Elizabeth City on April 26, 2014. (WAVY/Lex Gray)

NORTH CAROLINA (WAVY) — Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency Monday, several days after tornadoes ripped through the state, one claiming the life of an infant in Edenton.

The National Weather Service said three “significant” tornadoes touched down in Pasquotank County, and EF-2 tornadoes touched down in Pitt and Beaufort counties.

Eleven-month-old Gavin Soto died from his injuries after his Edenton home collapsed during the storm. McCrory visited the home and promised residents around the state he would see what both state and federal government could do to help.

Family members told WAVY News’ Liz Palka that there will be a funeral for Soto on Wednesday, the day before he was to turn one-year-old.

Chowan County residents spent all day Monday cleaning up and preparing for the expected rain. Houses on Burnt Mill Road were lined with tarp as the roofs of many structures were blown off during the tornadoes.

“My aunt’s house is gone,” said Mckella Jordan. “My sister’s house across the road is gone, it’s destroyed. My cousin’s house; I never ever imagined that I would see this road looking like this.”

Jordan was told her house shifted during the storm and could cave in. The house’s foundation was also significantly damaged. Next door, her aunt, 83-year-old Louise Bonner, had nothing left of her home.The pile of rubble that stood as a house just days before, lay barely recognizable Monday.

“You can’t build that back up,” Bonner said. “I don’t think I would like to live in it either.”

Bonner said she doesn’t remember seeing the tornado and doesn’t remember how she got out of her house. She only remembers hearing a lot of glass breaking.

“God, that’s the only one that got me through it,” Bonner explained. “Just like I tell everybody, He wasn’t ready for me. He told me I had some more work to do. That’s what I tell everybody. And it’s true!”

In Pasquotank County, it’s hard to find places without damage from the tornadoes. Even days later, fallen trees, other debris and homes covered by tarp litter the landscape. 16 houses were destroyed as well as another six in Elizabeth City.

“It was crazy,” said Arthur Heath. “It was fast and I didn’t have time to react. Hurricanes are one thing, but a tornado is something we never experienced.”red cross

Heath was in his home off of Halls Creek Road with his children when the storm hit. His place was spared, but his SUV was damaged. He was one of the lucky ones.

Linwood Parker, Sr., who’s lived in Perquimans County his whole life, was eating popcorn in his Chapanoke Road home when the danger began. His home started to shake, the lights went out and the house split in two.

“I wasn’t scared when the lights were out,” Parker said. “I wasn’t scared.”

Parker, like so many, is now wondering what’s next.

“I’ve seen this before and heard about it, but I didn’t think that anything like this would hit our little area,” said Clyde Spellman. “It is overwhelming. I’m hoping to get through this situation and get on with our lives.”

The only relief during the day comes in the form of a hot meal from the Red Cross. It is a chance to forget about the damage done, but only for a second.

Governor McCrory declaring a state of emergency authorizes state agencies to position resources to help local agencies with the aftermath of the storm.

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