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Tornado, storms injure 15, destroy homes in North Carolina

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:43 PM EST, Thu January 12, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A confirmed tornado in Rutherford County injures 10 persons
  • NEW: Storms in Burke County injure five more people
  • NEW: 16 homes are destroyed in Burke County

(CNN) -- Dozens of western North Carolina homes were damaged, including 16 destroyed, in a tornado and storms that also injured 15 persons, authorities said Thursday.

In Rutherford County, a tornado Wednesday left 10 persons injured and a dozen homes damaged, officials said.

The extent of injuries were not immediately known, authorities said.

The National Weather Service on Thursday confirmed that Wednesday night's storm in Rutherford County was a tornado classified on the Enhanced Fujita scale as an EF-2, with estimated maximum wind speed of 115 mph.

Wednesday night's severe weather damaged more than 50 homes in adjacent Burke County, 16 of them being destroyed, authorities said. Five persons were also injured, and six businesses were damaged, county authorities said.

"We're still doing assessments," Burke County Emergency Manager Mark Pitts told CNN.

A limited state of emergency was in place for eastern Burke County where some 800 homes were without power after a suspected tornado hit the area, the board of commissioners said.

CNN's Dave Alsup, Michael Martinez and Joe Sutton contributed to this report

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