NWS report: EF-3 twister tracks across 22 miles of Brunswick County


OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — New information has been released about a tornado that ripped through Brunswick County late Monday night, killing three people and injuring 10.

According to a storm survey report by the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, the twister was on the ground for 28 minutes and tracked across 22 miles.

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The report states the tornado touched down at 11:34 p.m. Monday near the intersection of old Georgetown Road SW and Angel Trace Road as an EF-0, where a couple of pine trees were snapped and several pine limbs were broken.

It moved to the northeast over Forest Land, then rapidly intensified to an EF-2 as it approached Highway 904. A large portion of a rood was blown off a metal building on the west side of 904, several RVs were rolled over, and several large pine trees were snapped. The tornado crossed Highway 904, snapped numerous trees and cause moderate damage to a large metal building and church.

Strong rotating winds detected on radar when tornado warning was issued on Feb. 15, 2021. (Photo: WWAY)

The twister entered the Ocean Ridge Plantation neighborhood with wind speeds up to 125 mph (EF-2). Hundreds of trees were snapped, and many homes sustained minor to moderate damage. It cross Rosebury Court SW, then strengthened to its maximum intensity of 160 (EF-3) as it approached Cambria Court SW. Two homes were completely destroyed in this area, and several more sustained moderate to major damage. The tornado reached its maximum path of width of 275 yards as it moved across Windsor Circle, although maximum winds decreased to 115 mph (EF-2). Many homes sustained moderate to major damage, hundreds of large trees were snapped, and one car was observed rolled on its side.

It crossed Highway 17 as an EF-1, then re-intensified to EF-2, causing major damage to several homes and snapping hundreds of trees along Green Bay Road NW and Old Shallotte Road NW. The tornado continues to produce a near continuous path of tree damage through Forest and Swamp Land, across Highway 130 and Highway 211, confirmed by helicopter overflight.

The twister lifted at 12:02 a.m. Tuesday approximately three miles east of Highway 211 after passing west of the Bear Pen Airstrip.

Tornado summary:
Estimated peak winds: 160 mph (EF-3)
Path length/statute: 22 miles
Path width/maximum: 275 yards
Fatalities: 3
Injuries: 10
Start location: 2 N Sunset Beach, NC
Start Lat/Lon: 33.9118 / -78.5096
End Location: 10 SW Delco, NC
End Lat/Lon: 34.1774 / -78.3008

This was the deadliest tornado in the Cape Fear since 2006 when a twister hit Riegelwood, killing eight people.

NWS also confirmed a microburst with winds of 110 mph snapped a few hundreds trees or uprooted west of the Bear Pen Airstrip. It lasted for .2 miles and maximum width was 400 yards. The damage was separate from the EF-3 tornado.