Tornado Fury Strikes In North Carolina: On Wednesday, a powerful tornado ravaged North Carolina. A Pfizer plant was severely damaged, raising pharmaceutical supply chain concerns. The storm closed a major interstate and injured at least 16 people.
The tornado, rated EF-3 by the NWS, had peak wind speeds of 150 mph and lasted 30 minutes, traveling 16.5 miles. Dortches, Nash County, 45 miles northeast of Raleigh, was the twister’s start. Nine miles east-northeast of Battleboro in Edgecombe County, it subsided.
An EF-3 tornado in central North Carolina in July is rare, highlighting the severity of the weather phenomenon. The EF scale ranks tornadoes from weakest to strongest based on damage.
In Edgecombe County, three people were injured, two critically, by the tornado that hit Nash County.
The tornado hit. Aerial footage showed the plant roof crumpled like tissue paper and debris scattered across the parking lot. Pfizer reported no employee injuries, thankfully.
Pfizer’s plant damage has far-reaching effects. The 250-acre eastern state facility has 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space. It supplies 25% of sterile injectable medicines used in US hospitals.
As of June, the University of Utah Drug Information Service listed over 300 drugs as short supply.
The Pfizer plant produces essential drugs like anesthesia, analgesics, anti-infectives, neuromuscular blockers, and others.
Pfizer acquired Rocky Mount during its 2015 Hospira acquisition. Quality issues caused anesthesia and other product shortages in 2012.
Supply chain experts like Erin Fox from the University of Utah Health worry about potential shortages as Pfizer struggles to move manufacturing to its newer facilities.
Tornado survivors shared their stories. Nash County couple’s house was uprooted with them inside. The tornado threw their house across the yard, scattering appliances and furniture.
Deborah Moore, the homeowner’s partner, survived despite being hospitalized.
Due to downed power lines, gas leaks, and other dangers, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone advised residents to stay off the roads.
Trees fell onto Interstate 95 during the tornado. The North Carolina Department of Transportation closed the major highway in both directions for at least an hour before reopening it.
Governor Roy Cooper tweeted that first responders were working hard to clear roads and help victims.
Weather teams are surveying the tornado’s damage to help affected communities rebuild.
Resilient North Carolina residents and businesses will help rebuild. Despite a powerful storm, the state’s people are determined to overcome adversity and become stronger.
Our Reader’s Queries
Where did the tornado hit in North Carolina today?
The tornado touched down a mile west of Garner and moved in a straight line to the northeast for 1.5 miles, according to the Weather Service. Meteorologists reported that it was on the ground for approximately four minutes.
Has NC ever had a F4 tornado?
In the early hours of Nov. 28, 1988, a powerful tornado hit Raleigh, North Carolina, close to Umstead State Park. This tornado was one of the most intense ever recorded in the state, scoring an F4 on the Fujita scale, which rates tornadoes from F0 to F5. The tornado’s destructive path stretched for 84 miles, nearly reaching the Virginia border.
Where is Tornado Alley in North Carolina?
Carolina Alley, located in Eastern North Carolina near I-95, extends into Northeastern South Carolina. The peak tornado season in this area occurs in April, May, and September, making it the fourth-most active tornado region in the country. La Grange is situated within Carolina Alley.
What was the most powerful hurricane to hit North Carolina?
On October 15, 1954, Hurricane Hazel barreled inland near the South Carolina state line, bringing with it wind gusts reaching up to 150 mph. To this day, Hazel remains the most powerful hurricane to ever make landfall in North Carolina.