‘A lot of destruction’: Community in disbelief after deadly EF-3 tornado hits Brunswick County

Brunswick County community in disbelief after EF-3 tornado tears through neighborhood

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WMBF) – A deadly tornado ripped through Brunswick County overnight, severely damaging homes and leaving thousands without power.

The tornado touched down around 11:50 p.m. Monday in the area of Seaside Road and Highway 17.

In a press briefing early Tuesday morning, Brunswick County Emergency Services Director Ed Conrow said at least three people were killed and ten were injured.

RELATED STORY: Tornado causes damage, power outages in Brunswick County

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted Tuesday morning that he has spoken with county officials and the state has sent help.

“Our prayers are with them all,” Cooper said.

Several homes were reportedly destroyed or heavily damaged. Officials said a majority of the damage is in the Ocean Ridge Plantation community.

Elwood Reeves said his sister and mother live in the neighborhood. Thankfully, Reeves said they weren’t hurt and there was no damage directly to his mother’s home.

However, he said he was upset that he was not allowed into the neighborhood to check on his family.

As of Tuesday, officials said, only residents were allowed in and out of the neighborhood.

“They’re okay, but they have no power, they have no phone as far as landlines concerned. All they’ve got is their cellphones,” Reeves said.

Many residents have been relocated, and officials are in the process of setting up a shelter.

“It’s something like I have never seen before. A lot of destruction. It’s going to be a long recovery process,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said.

No one is reported missing as of early Tuesday afternoon.

On Green Bay Road, several minutes from the Ocean Ridge Plantation community, crews worked to restore toppled power poles.

The tornado also caused severe damage to homes and cars on Old Shallotte Road.

Luis Lujano who lives in the area said his sister’s car is totaled. Both his car and his father’s car were damaged, as well as their home.

He said he was home when it all happened

“I just see a big gust of wind with a bunch of branches and everything just fly across the front of the house,” Lujano said. “I don’t know why, but I acted pretty calmly. Just now I’m starting to feel really impacted and hurt in a way.”

At its peak, the storm left over 37,000 Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation customers in the dark.

According to officials, Highway 17 is currently closed in both directions from Thomasboro Road to Four Mile Road.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.

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