In a short period of time Monday night, Sampson County felt the blow from another powerful storm.
Just a week ago, a tornado struck the town of Autryville during the evening hours of Tuesday, May 23. As the Memorial Day weekend came to an end, more damage occurred in several areas of Sampson County. There were 14 reported injuries following a Monday storm with damaging winds, which hit before midnight.
Many thought it was a tornado, but according to the National Weather Service (NWS), the destruction was from straight-line (damaging) winds. Officials from NWS, made the determination after visiting Sampson County Tuesday.
According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, most thunderstorm winds that bring damage at the ground are a result of outflow created by a thunderstorm downdraft. Damaging winds are classified to exceed 50 to 60 mph.
Susan Holder, assistant county manager for Sampson County, reported damages, north of Salemburg and through the Kitty Fork and Keener areas. There was also damage in the Faison area. After the storms, several of the individuals were transported by paramedics and Sampson County Sheriff’s deputies. Others took their personal vehicles to the hospital.
“None of the injuries were life threatening,” Holder said Tuesday morning.
Sampson’s emergency operation center opened at midnight Tuesday, to deal with the situation.
“Law enforcement and the volunteer fire departments were out all night, making sure people were safe on the roads,” Holder said. “We had numerous reports of damage from trees and downed power lines.”
Damage assessment began Tuesday morning by county officials and personnel.
“Once we figure out the extent of the damage, we’ll know what’s available to people,” Holder said. “We’ll let everyone know what available to assist them in their recoveries.”
When it comes to recovery, Holder said it will occur on an individual basis for residents.
“It’s like any other disaster that we experienced like this,” Holder said. “The impact of it is probably felt more individually by the persons who have damaged property, than the county itself,” Holder said.
Around the county, neighbors were helping each other, as were local non-profit organizations.
Members of the United Way Board of Directors, along with executive director Nancy Carr, hitched the organization’s trailer to a truck and headed out into the most impacted areas of Monday’s storm.
According to Carr, much like the organization did following Hurricane Matthew and last week’s tornado, members were out distributing items those most impacted from damage may need to help rebuild their homes.
According to Carr, nearly $8,000 was donated to the organization to help with disaster relief. With the money, United Way purchased 40 comforters, 40 sheet sets, 200 towels, 40 sets of pots and pans, 40 cutlery sets, 80 pillows, 40 blankets, 40 dish towels and oven mitts, and 40 bath mats.
“This money was an opportunity for us to go ahead and be an immediate benefit to those families who are affected by disaster,” Carr explained.
Following Hurricane Matthew, members of United Way traveled across the county, setting up centers and distributing much needed items to residents who were left with little to nothing following the storm. Tuesday morning, Carr and other members headed out again.
“Our goal is to be one of the first to respond in the event of a disaster,” Carr said.
Kristy D. Carter contributed to this story.