Gov. Cooper seeking improved warning system after deadly tornado

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY/AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the state must learn from the tornado that struck the community of Ocean Isle Beach with little or no warning, leaving three people dead and 10 injured.

The Democratic governor toured the damages Wednesday and promised to rush state resources to help people rebuild.

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Gov. Roy Cooper surveying tornado damage in the Ocean Ridge Plantation community on Feb. 17, 2021. (Photo: WWAY)

He said officials must study how to give more warning time in future storms.

“People need to look at what happened here and learn from it and see if systems can be improved to try to give people as much warning as possible,” Cooper said.

Residents told the governor they had to scramble quickly to hide in closets and bathrooms as the tornado struck late Monday night.

Many are now working to recover anything salvageable from their shattered homes and businesses. And they worry about how they’ll rebuild.

County Emergency Services Director Ed Conrow says recovery will be a community effort.

“We have overwhelming support from our community to a point where we’re trying to figure out what they can do and manage it correctly and effectively in order to get the community back together,” Conrow said. “Let’s show everybody how strong we are as Brunswick County and I’m proud to be here as a part of Brunswick County and to lead this effort. We’ll get through it.”

This twister was the deadliest in our area since the Riegelwood tornado in November 2006.

That tornado was an F-3 with winds up to 200 miles per hour. It struck around 6:30 a.m. in eastern Columbus County, destroying a part of a mobile home community. Eight people were killed including two children. Nearly 20 others injured. It caused $500,000 in damage.