Tornado reported in Burke, Lenoir causes widespread damage

Photo take from Malcolm Boulevard looking toward Mineral Springs Mountain.

SUBMITTED TO THE NEWS HERALD

A tornado ripped through parts of Burke and Caldwell counties Sunday night damaging at least five homes, downing trees and causing power outages across the area.

A tornado was spotted on the ground 10 miles southeast of Morganton heading north at about 30 mph around 5 p.m. Sunday night, according to a National Weather Service alert.

A fire department in Caldwell County confirmed to the Hickory Daily Record that a tornado touched down 4 miles northeast of Lenoir near Cedar Rock on Sunday at about 6:15 p.m.

Five buildings on Cub Creek Street in Connelly Springs were damaged in the storm, according to Burke County Fire Marshal Mike Willis.

Four of the buildings are homes and the other is an outbuilding, Willis said. Three of the buildings currently are uninhabitable, he said.

Willis said a man was injured in one of the homes from falling debris and was transported to a local hospital with possible back injuries. He also said there were numerous reports of fallen trees across the eastern part of the county as well as a number of power outages.

Nick Reed, the assistant chief of Lovelady Fire Department, said his department also responded to a a damaged home on Coldwater Street. A tree fell through the home, but nobody was inside at the time, he said.

The stoplight off Malcolm Boulevard in Rutherford College near the CVS was not working at approximately 7:15 p.m., according to a News Herald reporter, and drivers are urged to use caution when passing through that area.

Small patches of power outages were reported in Morganton but nothing widespread, according to Brooks Kirby of the Morganton City Electric Department. The number of outages in other areas is unknown at this time.

A tornado warning was issued for Drexel, Rutherford College, Valdese, Icard, Hildebran, Lake Rhodhiss, Connelly Springs, Granite Falls and Longview prior to the tornado touching down, the alert said.

Tropical downpours associated with the remnants of Hurricane Nate are expected to continue northward across the area through Sunday night and Monday morning, according to NWS. The very heavy rainfall may produce flooding of low-lying and poor drainage areas. Isolated flash flooding of streams and creeks cannot be ruled out, especially where several bands of rainfall affect a certain location.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.