Possible tornado slams 2 western NC counties

January 12, 2012 - 12:15 AM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — National Weather Service officials say an apparent tornado ripped through two counties in western North Carolina, injuring at least three people while damaging dozens of buildings and a mobile home park.

Meteorologist Doug Outlaw said the storm first struck in Ellenboro in eastern Rutherford County on Wednesday. Emergency personnel had to airlift three people from the area for medical treatment.

Outlaw said the storm then went into eastern Burke County, where a mobile home park was "nearly wiped out." He says there were multiple injuries and damage to other homes, including a house that was toppled by the storm, trapping a family in the basement.

He says a team will be dispatched on Thursday to assess the damage and determine if a tornado touched down.