Updated at 6:15 ET
An early-morning tornado ripped through coastal North Carolina Tuesday, killing three people, injuring 10 others and causing damage to homes, leaving residents without power, according to on-site emergency services personnel.
The tornado touched Ocean Ridge Plantation, a beach community approx. 45 miles south of Wilmington, NC, Edward Conrow, rescue director for Brunswick County, NC told NPR.
People were also reportedly trapped in their homes, according to the National Weather Service, citing county emergency services.
Conrow said search and rescue teams will work through the morning to find any missing people or those who may be injured and trapped in their homes.
Search and rescue teams were temporarily pulled out of the Ocean Ridge community area after respondents discovered propane leaks, Conrow said. A Hazmat team has since been called up.
A tornado warning was issued around noon. 23.45 Monday in western Brunswick County until kl. 12.15
The tornado left “significant damage” to several homes in the Ocean Ridge community as well as homes and businesses in nearby rural areas, Conrow said. It is too early to confirm how many structures were destroyed or damaged, he said.
A reporter who covered the damage overnight shared videos of serious destruction; downed trees and debris scattered across a road and homes totally destroyed by the tornado.
About 12,000 inhabitants was without power from 4:30 a.m. Tuesday in Brunswick County.
The Wilmington Fire Department tweeted that it was asked by state rescue services to help find other missing people after the tornado hit the area.
The Leland Fire Department posted on Facebook: “Our units are responding as mutual assistance to Ocean Isle Beach to help with rescue operations underway after the tornado. Stay home and stay away from the area.”
Conrow said search and rescue teams and other emergency personnel have “a long way to go” as recovery operations continue through Tuesday.
This is a story that is evolving. Some facts reported by the media may later turn out to be incorrect. We will focus on reports from police officers and other authorities, credible news outlets and journalists who are on site, and we will update as the situation develops.
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