EF1 Tornado Confirmed in SW CLT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was just like everyone describes it, Leah Sherer said, as she sheltered from the storm inside her southwest Charlotte home’s utility closet. She said, “No sooner did I get to the door of that when I heard wind, sounded like a freight train.” And, “A minute after getting in there, I texted everybody, ‘I love you.'”

She rode out the EF 1 tornado in that closet, and after, when she stepped outside assessed the damage. She said, “I moved here from Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes and just as many tornadoes. I haven’t been through one this bad. Scary.”

The “what-ifs,” sank in, hours after the twister tore through. Sherer teared up, talking to TV cameras, saying, “Sorry. I was so scared.”

Wednesday’s tornado is the 22nd in Mecklenburg County since 1950. The last one was in May of 2014; it was an EF-0.

Wind battered mobile homes stood their ground Wednesday, thanks to being built to tougher codes, the property owner tells us. Alan Withrow says, “I think we got people gonna live in 27 out of 30 of these tonight.”

And at Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church, there was building damage, and trees tossed like toys. “Some of these trees are hundreds of years old and they’re just snapped off,” says grounds manager David Barbee. He calls the area near the church “ground zero” for Wednesday’s tornado. But as the cleanup continues, the church will do what it always does this coming Sunday. Barbee says, “We plan to have services. I think we’ll be business as usual, as much as possible.”