Nash County residents begin cleanup after powerful storms

Local News

NASH COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) — Friday, throughout central North Carolina, the cleanup has begun — after powerful storms brought heavy rain and strong winds, leading to damage all around our area.  

In Rocky Mount, officials at North Carolina Wesleyan College said sports fields at their school took a hit. 

According to school leaders, the storm caused significant damage to the softball field, including downed fencing, moved and damaged bleachers, a torn down scoreboard and the home field dugout destroyed. The baseball field and practice football field suffered fence damage.

North Carolina Wesleyan College Head Baseball Coach Greg Clifton told CBS 17 he’s glad it wasn’t any worse. 

“I really panicked, I didn’t know where to go,” Clifton said. “You’re always getting warnings and texts, and looking at the radar and all. You kind of just play it by ear, sit in the dugout and wait for it to end. But yesterday [Thursday] was definitely different.”

Clifton said the school was hosting teams from Cary High School and Millbrook High School for a summer tournament. He noticed it started getting darker outside. 

“You could see a grayish funnel cloud, with things spinning in it just to the right of our scoreboard,” Clifton said. 

Right then, he said is when it all started. 

“I actually saw the softball scoreboard in the air flying,” he said. “It was just a circular rotation.”

School officials said approximately 50 trees broke off or were down in the woods along Thomas Betts Pkwy.

“You can hear them hitting the ground,” Clifton said. “One of the umpires on the inside said that he heard it sounded like a train.”

Clifton said this all happened during an important time for the team. 

“We have weekend tournaments about every weekend,” he said. “That’s how we make some money for our baseball program. Luckily, this weekend, it didn’t make. It didn’t have enough teams.”

School officials said no injuries were reported or buildings harmed, and many around the college came out to help clean up and remove debris. 

For Clifton, he believes the damage won’t keep the Battling Bishops down. 

“I’m just glad that no one got hurt,” he said. 

Clifton said they’ll have a temporary fence put up for next weekend’s tournament. 

Meanwhile, school officials said the National Weather Service in Raleigh has been advised of this and may help in finding out whether this was straight-line winds or a possible tornado. 

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