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Tornado Hits N. Carolina as Severe Weather Rolls In

A powerful storm packing at least one tornado ripped across eastern North Carolina overnight, authorities said, causing injuries, damage to homes and knocking out power to thousands.

One tornado was confirmed by law enforcement officials near Washington, N.C., according to weather.com.

A state of emergency was declared in Beaufort County. At least 30 people were treated for injuries in emergency rooms, according to John Pack, Beaufort County Emergency Management Coordinator. More than 100 homes suffered severe damage or were destroyed in the storm.

Damage also was reported in Greene, Pitt and Halifax counties and at least 10,000 people in the region were reported to have lost power.

Several people were injured in Elizabeth City, N.C., after a powerful line of thunderstorms swept through after 8 p.m., weather.com reported.

Sarah Kane of Richmond, Va., told The Weather Channel via Twitter that she was in Elizabeth City and “it’s pitch black so it’s hard to see but there are power lines on the roads, extensive flooding, no power and lots of sirens.”

"The porches are gone, the roof is gone the siding is gone, but I've still got somewhere to stay. So I'm just blessed," J.R. Hulon of Greene County told NBC station WITN of Washington, N.C.

The start of the 2014 tornado season has been the quietest since 1953 — thanks to lingering cold from a brutal winter — but as temperatures warm, more stormy weather is likely across the country.

- Gil Aegerter and Niven McCall-Mazza

Image: downtown Durham
Menacing dark clouds brought rain, wind and lightning to downtown Durham, N.C., on Friday afternoon, as cold and warm fronts clashed, making a dangerous weather situation. Bernard Thomas / The Herald-Sun via AP