DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The National Weather Service was in Durham County on Tuesday to survey damage and discern whether a tornado touched down in the Triangle on Monday.
NWS announced Tuesday night that, in fact, a weak EF0 tornado did touch down just northeast of Durham.
According to NWS data, the tornado reached wind speeds of 85 mph with a width of 100 yards and a length of one and a half miles.
Nick Petro with the National Weather Service in Raleigh went to about a dozen sights in Durham to survey damage, including Northgate Park where he took photos of damaged trees using technology that then estimates a wind speed based on the damage.
“This is just one piece of a larger puzzle that I am putting together,” Petro said. “All the data pieces, the trees go into that puzzle, the radar data, the archived radar data goes into that puzzle, looking at the velocity data in the radar data is that puzzle. How the damage lines up, if it’s a track that is a piece of the puzzle.”
Petro said some of the worst damage he saw was in the Colonial Heights neighborhood. A tree fell on the Farfan family’s home along Colonial Heights Drive. Oseas Dominguez with Dominguez Quality Construction said there’s damage to the rafters and plywood, as well as cracks along the ceiling and wall inside.
“It was kind of like a lot of stuff to do, even today as well,” Dominguez said. “We’re trying to clean out all the stuff just to kind of like have space to walk.”
The Monday tornado was determined to have struck in a brief, approximately 2-minute time frame from 4:07-4:09 p.m. at a treetop level.
The NWS said that the tornado first occurred along Glenbrook Drive and went on to impact DeMille Street, Hinson Drive, Waring Street, DaVinci Street and several surrounding streets.
The tornado then lifted before hitting once again at treetop level in the vicinity of Colonial Heights Drive and Thompson Road before lifting and dissipating.
Due to the nature of the tornado hitting at treetop level and not at ground level, damage was confined to trees, the NWS said Tuesday night. Some trees snapped and were uprooted, causing damage to homes in the area.
For reference, tornados are ranked based on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, which places tornados into the following categories.
- EF0: Weak, 65 to 85 mph
- EF1: Weak, 86 to 110 mph
- EF2: Strong, 111 to 135 mph
- EF3: Strong, 136 to 165 mph
- EF4: Violent, 166 to 200 mph
- EF5: Violent, more than 200 mph