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NC storms grew lethal after bypassing Charlotte

Apr 19, 2011 8:01:00 AM - thestate.com
Click here to explore a news graphic showing the tornadoes' paths.

It’s as if a giant beast raked the eastern half of North Carolina with its claws.

As teams of National Weather Service meteorologists drive and walk the paths of Saturday’s tornadoes, a picture is emerging of long, parallel stripes of damage where storms started near the South Carolina border and ripped diagonally north and east, destroying homes and businesses and leaving 22 people dead.

It was one of the final acts of a series of storms that began over the Pacific Ocean before triggering three days of tornadoes across 15 states, leaving more than 40 people dead.

The North Carolina tornadoes popped up ahead of a cold front that was moving almost precisely west to east, said Shawna Cokley, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Raleigh office. The powerful supercell storms that generated the tornadoes were moving parallel to each other out of the south-southeast, hence the clawed tracks of destruction, she said.

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