Officials: North Carolina Tornado Caused $500K in Damages

A tornado that killed eight people in southeastern North Carolina caused at least $500,000 worth of damage, officials said.

Kip Godwin, chairman of the Columbus County Board of Commissioners, said Saturday that damage assessment teams determined that 13 homes in the Riegelwood area were destroyed. One home had major damage and a couple dozen more had minor damage, he said.

The damage estimate could increase after officials analyze tax values, Godwin said.

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The tornado hit a mobile home park in Riegelwood early Thursday. Cleanup efforts continued Saturday as victims tried to uncover some of their belongings.

Also Saturday, a disaster assistance center opened to help storm victims apply for state disaster grants and loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Four children were listed in critical condition at hospitals Friday, and Godwin said Saturday there were no updates on their conditions.

The tornado was part of a devastating line of thunderstorms that killed 12 as they swept across the South. Riegelwood is a small town on the Cape Fear River about 20 miles west of coastal Wilmington.