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Storms Injure 15 In Western North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — At least 15 people were injured and at least 60 buildings damaged when a possible tornado struck two counties in western North Carolina, the National Weather Service said Thursday.

The storms struck in Rutherford and Burke counties late Wednesday afternoon as a cold front moved through the western Carolinas, meteorologist Neil Dixon with the weather service office in Greer, S.C., said.

Ten people were hurt in Ellenboro in Rutherford County, sheriff’s Sgt. Dwayne Wright said. Two of the injuries were serious, but Wright did not know the extent of the injuries.

At least 10 buildings were damaged in a 3-square-mile residential area, but Wright said officials expected to get a better count on the damage during surveys Thursday.

Some people initially were trapped in their homes.

“Everybody’s out that we know of,” Wright said. “As far as we know, everybody has been accounted for.”

At least five people were hurt when the storm struck a few minutes later in the Icard area of Burke County, Dixon said.

County officials initially estimated 50 buildings had been damaged, he said. Burke County officials did not immediately respond to messages left by The Associated Press early Thursday.

A weather service survey team planned to tour the area Thursday to confirm that the damage was caused by a tornado, as well as to determine how strong the storm was, Dixon said.

The storm cell that caused the damage had dumped some hail in northwestern South Carolina before moving into North Carolina, he said.

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