Midwest, South Recovering from Deadly Tornadoes

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A violent storm system in the Midwest and South killed at least 45 people over the weekend.  Authorities say more than 240 tornadoes hit states from Oklahoma and Alabama to North Carolina and Virginia.
          
The deadly weather system destroyed lives and property in six states, unleashing tornadoes, hail, and flash flooding along the way.
    
Sixty-two twisters barreled across North Carolina alone. 

"I was in my room and I saw a dark cloud, something dark, and it just passed by," one North Carolina storm survivor recalled. "We ran to the bathroom. And as soon as I ducked I saw their bedroom collapsed."

CBN News Reporter Efrem Graham talked more about the cleanup efforts in Deltaville, Va., and what Operation Blessing is doing to help the survivors.

A tornado hit a Lowe's store in Sanford, but miraculously, all 100 employees and customers survived.  Officials say quick action by the store manager and his employees made the difference.
 
"Everybody was on the ground, kind of crouched on the ground and by that time, the roof was coming off as we were running," Lowe's store manager Mike Hollowell recalled.

Shaw University in Raleigh has been forced to shut down after a tornado whipped through campus, leaving two students injured and nearly every building damaged.
    
Classes have been canceled and the university has shut down with just eight days left in the semester. School officials say there will be no final exams.

"We can't teach a class and say go ahead and study in your dorm room where there's broken glass," Shaw Prof. Teri Burnette said. "It's best that they leave and get off campus and be safe somewhere else."
    
North Carolina hasn't seen such brutal weather in 25 years. Officials say it literally took a perfect storm to create the latest series of tornadoes.

"There are weather conditions that are necessary to produce storms of this magnitude, these monsters, these super cells," explained Jeff Orrock of the National Weather Service.

"It is like making a cake and you have got to have all the right ingredients, and all the right ingredients came into play," he said.
    
In Deltaville, Va. on the Chesapeake Bay, the storm tore the Zoar Baptist Church building in half.

"Deltaville is alike a war zone," Zoar member Ed Harrow told the Religious Herald. "I was in Germany at the end of World War II and I told my wife, that's exactly what it looked like."
    
Relief teams from CBN's Operation Blessing International are already in the community, serving meals and helping to jump-start the massive clean-up.
    
Despite the devastation, many survivors expressed wonder, awe and thankfulness for their lives that were spared.

"That's part of my house there. The other part is here. But my family and I are here, and that's God's greatest blessing," storm survivor Alvin Martin said.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

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