The governor surveyed the brunt of the damage, at
Showing the Democratic governor obliterated roofs, downed trees and severely damaged homes, Brunswick County’s emergency services director
“It developed so fast,” Conrow told the governor. “I mean, it just was really nothing and just exploded. Within four minutes, we had a tornado on the ground, which is scary because everyone’s in bed at nighttime sleeping.”
He told reporters during Cooper's visit: “It was just a freak storm that developed so fast we had no chance to respond.”
Several residents described for AP how they scrambled to hide in closets and bathrooms as conditions quickly worsened. Some said they received a warning alert on their phone two minutes after the tornado had already passed.
“The storm developed quickly and our storm survey team is still evaluating the exact details in relation to when and where the tornado ultimately touched down, how strong it was, how far it traveled, and other details,” Willis said in a statement.
He noted that the Storm Prediction Center had forecast a slight risk for severe storms that highlighted the threat of isolated tornadoes and damaging wind gusts. He added that members of his team spoke with some residents who said the initial thunderstorm warning helped them brace for the impact.
On his tour, Cooper described the damage as “devastating." He vowed to direct state resources to help rebuild destroyed homes and businesses and also figure out what could be done differently to give people more warning time the next time a severe storm develops.
“We need to look at what happened here and learn from it and see if systems can be improved," Cooper said.
Speaking to residents in the community — many of whom seldom wear masks despite the coronavirus pandemic — Cooper told two residents, “We'll marshal as many of the state resources as we can get and need to help you. I know it's hard on a lot of families right now, but this community seems to be very close-knit.”
But some people remained frustrated, saying they had no interest in speaking with the governor.
Before the tornado hit his Ocean Ridge Storage Solutions business about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the
Two 10,000-square-foot (930 square meter) warehouses storing items for 14 tenants collapsed. Dobkin expressed aggravation, saying no insurance adjuster had showed up. By late Wednesday morning, he was bulldozing the sites that were considered too unsafe to remain in place.
“I don't think it's set in yet for me,” Dobkin said. “I think it's like a dream I'm having. I'm gonna wake up in the morning and everything's going to be OK. I don't even know what to think at this point."
Follow Anderson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BryanRAnderson.
Anderson is a corps member for the