Reported Twister Tears Through Central North Carolina

(CNN) -- Emergency crews in North Carolina plan to assess damage Friday morning after a reported tornado killed one person and injured three others in central part of the state on Thursday night.

Strong winds overturned tractor-trailers and cars on Interstate 40, collapsed parts of several commercial buildings and damaged numerous single-family homes on the western edge of Greensboro, said Alan Perdue, emergency services director for Guilford County.

One person died when the winds overturned his truck at a business, Perdue said. He said at least three other people suffered injuries that authorities do not consider life-threatening.

Local authorities received calls at around 11:30 p.m. from people who reported seeing a funnel cloud in the unincorporated Colfax community near Piedmont Triad International Airport, Perdue said.

Three planes at the airport suffered significant damage, including a private jet and two cargo planes, he said.

The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for the area and also received reports that a tornado struck. Its investigators will try Friday to confirm that it was a tornado that caused the damage, said Darin Figurskey, a weather-service meteorologist.

A second reported tornado struck just before 10:30 p.m. in or near Clemmons, a town of about 17,000 southwest of Winston-Salem, he said. Two houses collapsed in Clemmons, probably because of high winds, and more than 32,000 were without power, officials told The Associated Press.

Authorities knew of no injuries, said Maj. Brad Stanley of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

Winds caused "significant damages" to several houses, Stanley said, including one that was reduced to rubble even though the storm caused only minor damage to the house next door.

"It's just a foundation now, but next door -- that house is still there," he said.

The severe weather was part of a storm system that left its mark across the southeastern United States.

According to AP reports, an apparent tornado wrecked a shopping area in Mississippi and strong winds flipped a mobile home in Alabama.

The AP also reported at least four homes and a few barns in south-central Tennessee were damaged.

An apparent tornado wrecked a furniture store in Tupelo, Mississippi, where William Felks and Allan Jackson had to brace themselves during the storm.

"Me and Allan hid behind a door, and I was holding on to his belt as tight as I could. Then in seconds it stopped," Felks told AP. "It took less than a minute to mess this whole building up. Man, I was scared."

A home improvement store and a farm supply retailer near Tupelo were also damaged, said Paul Harkins, Lee County's director of emergency communications. "There were power lines and trees down around it and a car was lifted off the ground and pushed into a tree," Harkins said.


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