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EF-1 tornado aftermath: Rockingham County rallies to clean up debris and damage

Clean-up will take days, even weeks following the tornado that ripped through parts of Rockingham County on Friday.

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. — The clean-up continues after an EF-1 tornado struck Rockingham County Friday night.

Damage is extensive around the county. The efforts to clear debris is an all-hands-on-deck situation. There are still no reports of any injuries according to the sheriff and community members are coming together to help those in need.

"We have had our storms come through, but Friday's was pretty scary," Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page said. 

RELATED: NWS confirms EF-1 struck Rockingham County Friday night

Around the county, it is easy to spot heavy damage, fallen trees, and debris lingering all over. 

The Rockingham County Emergency Services Director, Rodney Cates, said the tornado was 300 yards wide and on the ground for almost 8 miles, with winds topping out at more than 100 miles per hour.

"You can just see the amounts of the damage here, look at these trees," Page said.

Credit: WFMY
Tornado damage in Wentworth (Rockingham County, NC)

RELATED: Report: Tornado in Rockingham Co. leaves severe damage

Page said the community is stepping up to help each other out. Because of that, he thinks the clean-up could move a little faster than expected.

NC Baptists On Mission is working with Samaritan's Purse to help with that process. They are prioritizing those with the greatest needs.

"If it's affecting your way of life or if it's medically needed, say their driveway is blocked, they have no one to cut it, and they are on dialysis or they have doctor's appointment, we’re going to prioritize that high," Jim Lawrence with NC Baptists on Mission said. 

Samaritan's Purse is also assisting with clean up.

"They're mostly doing tree work. There are lots and lots of big trees and trees on houses. Some roof tarping," Charlie Clark said.

Clark is the Operations Manager for the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, working alongside Samaritan's Purse.

Chaplains like him provide emotional and spiritual support after disasters.

"We saw three different homeowners today," Clark said. "One of them just had some tree work, another house had a hole in the roof and the other one, a tree was on top of and they had to find somewhere to live."

RELATED: Tornado captured on video in Rockingham Co. | Storm Blog

First responders are also still going around doing assessments.

"The fact that we had no injuries is certainly the blessing within this. You can repair a house, you can repair landscape, we can have debris removal, but you can't replace those lives," Cates said.

Emergency services report that no more roads are closed. The county will try to secure state and federal aid that they hope could help those hit hardest by the tornado.

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