Wilson tornado was an EF1

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


Swirls in a cornfield were among indicators that damage Thursday in Wilson County was from a tornado.

A National Weather Service survey team visited the site off White Oak Loop on Friday.

According to Gail Hartfield, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, the tornado rated as an EF-1.

“It looks like the estimated maximum speed was 100 miles per hour with that storm,” Hartfield said.

“It looks like the path width was 200 yards, and the path length was 0.8 miles, or just shy of a mile on that one.”

The twister spun up in weather associated with the outer edges of Hurricane Dorian as it pounded the North Carolina coast Thursday.

“It looks like the impacts were knocking numerous very large hardwood trees,” Hartfield said. “Those were uprooted. Some had trunks that were snapped off. One outbuilding was completely destroyed. The survey team noticed that a field of corn was flattened in a circular fashion, which is an interesting hallmark of a tornadic signature to have that happen. It is something kind of unusual around here.”

Hartfield said the team found that trees had fallen in different directions.

“Lots of times we have straight line winds where trees will be falling in one direction,” Hartfield said. “In this case, they fell in a number of different directions, kind of indicative of a circular pattern that we would see with a tornado.”

According to Harfield, the tornado struck at 4:07 p.m.

“We did spot it on radar,” Hartfield said.

Several other tornadoes were reported at the coast

Three were reported in this region, an EF0 in Mar-Mac in Wayne County at 1:52 p.m. and an EF0 at Smithfield in Johnston County at 4:31 p.m.