The tornado that carved through North Carolina's capital killed four children, shuttered a university for the rest of the spring semester and felled the signature trees in the metropolis known as the "City of Oaks."
It was the most active system of tornadoes on record in the state's history, leading to 23 deaths. In Raleigh, one of the nation's fastest-growing cities, the death toll and property damages underscored the massive costs that can be inflicted when a tornado makes a rare venture into areas of dense population.
In all, the storm killed 45 people in six states, but North Carolina was by far the hardest-hit.
More than three days after the storm, crews struggled Tuesday to restore electricity and infrastructure there, with a key commuting interstate briefly shut down to fix downed power lines.
Outside her apartment in downtown Raleigh, 71-year-old Elsie McKeithan wondered whether residents understood that a tornado could strike an urban area, especially with such ferocity. The storm tore the roof from the three-story apartment where she lived, rain pouring in.