Dozens homeless as storms pummel South

BY GEORGE PIPER | VIENNA, Ga. | April 16, 1999

VIENNA, Ga. (April 16, 1999) -- Dozens of families in Georgia and North

Carolina are homeless after tornadoes struck both states on Thursday,

killing one person and injuring more than 40.

County emergency management offices were still assessing damages Friday

afternoon. Initial reports indicate more than 70 homes damaged or destroyed

in two Georgia counties and several damaged structures in seven North

Carolina counties.

The worst devastation appears to be Vienna, a town of 2,700 some 50

miles south of Macon, where emergency workers rescued some 25 people trapped

beneath crushed homes and businesses. A 10:30 a.m. twister cut through and

around downtown section.

Dooly County Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency

worked into Friday evening totaling the damage. An estimated 300 people

spent Thursday night in an American Red Cross shelter at Dooly County High

School, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

Two tornadoes also hit the Candler County town of Metter at 1 p.m. and 3

p.m. on Thursday. The central Georgia town of 3,700 reported two injuries,

six mobile homes destroyed and five other residences damaged. Gov. Roy

Barnes declared a state of emergency in both counties.

Later that night in North Carolina, tornadoes jumped from the state's

southern tip all the way to Cape Hatteras on the Atlantic Ocean.

The first wave of tornadoes rolled through Robeson and Bladen counties

between 7 and 8 p.m. In Pembroke, about 30 miles southwest of Fayetteville,

a man died when his mobile home rolled over during the storm.

The fatality is the 36th attributed to tornadoes in 1999, according to

figures from the Storm Prediction Center, and the 17th death this month.

At least four other people sustained injuries around Pembroke, and six

mobile homes were destroyed. In neighboring Bladen County, officials

reported five injuries and damage to several mobile homes in the White Oak

and Tar Heel communities.

The storms also spawned tornadoes between 10 and 11 p.m. in a span west of

Fayetteville to the Atlantic.

Eleven people were injured in Kenansville and Beulaville in Duplin County

about 55 miles west of Fayetteville when a tornado hit those areas around 10

p.m. Emergency management officials there continue tallying damage to homes

and infrastructure.

A twister upturned mobile homes and injured four people in Catherine Lake

across the border in Onslow County, while two Pink Hill residents were

injured in Lenoir County.

Officials reported tornadoes but no major damage or injuries in Craven

County and the Atlantic Ocean town of Hatteras.

Earlier this week, tornadoes in Mississippi killed one and injured some 30

people in a tri-county area about 60 miles south of Jackson. About 50 homes

sustained damage, and local farmers lost chicken operations and cattle in

the disaster.

Posted April 16, 1999

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