Straight-line winds took down trees and triggered a tornado warning for Anson and surrounding counties early Friday morning, but the National Weather Service in Raleigh reports that there was likely no tornado in the county that day.
A severe thunderstorm rolled through the county Thursday evening and into Friday. A tornado warning was issued from about 2:30-3:15 a.m., followed by a downgraded tornado watch until 9 a.m. Friday.
The warning advised that wind rotation indicating a tornado had been detected on radar eight miles north of Wadesboro and encouraged county residents to take shelter immediately. Later in the day, the National Weather Service reported that a number of trees were blown down throughout the county, including many on N.C. Highway 742 and Bill Curllee Road.
“We had no reports of any trees on structures,” Rodney Diggs, emergency services director and fire marshal of Anson County, said via email early Friday evening. “There (were) no injuries or wrecks. Lockhart Road is the only road I know of that is closed due to flooding. We had trees down throughout the county but mainly on roads.”
A National Weather Service-Raleigh representative said that the damage was from straight-line winds rather than a tornado. In Anson, Stanly, Davidson and Forsyth counties, it is difficult to see low to the ground on radar, she said, making it difficult to detect tornadoes. Once the radar detected the wind rotation, the NWS decided to issue the warning as a precautionary measure, and later received reports that no tornado had been sighted.
There were a total of nine tornado reports in the southeast on Thursday, four in North Carolina. EF-1 tornadoes were reported in Rockingham and Granville counties, and EF-0 tornadoes were reported in Bertie and Chowan counties. Other tornadoes were also reported in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.
The State Climate Office of North Carolina reports that the last confirmed tornado that touched down in Anson was on Sept. 7, 2004 in Morven along N.C. State Route 145.
“Trees down on road and two turkey barns (were) destroyed,” the online records say. “Other farm buildings (were) damaged. One injury reported. Hundreds of turkeys killed.”
A cyclone caused massive property damage and killed several people in the region on Feb. 19, 1884, according to articles published on Feb. 21 and 28, 1884 in the former Anson Times. The articles describe the destruction in several counties, including Anson and Richmond.
The historical twister “swept in its wild carnival of death and destruction,” moving 2,000 millstones 50 yards away and destroying buildings on its deadly path, according to the article. Even chickens were discovered to have lost all of their feathers during the storm.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.