"RALEIGH, N.C. — More than 450 homes in North Carolina were damaged or destroyed on Saturday, when 62 tornadoes reportedly touched down in at least 20 counties.
Of those, more than 60 homes were destroyed, said Julia Jarema, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.
Gov. Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency across North Carolina, as did officials in more than a dozen counties, including Cumberland, Halifax and Wake. The state of emergency begins the process of applying for federal aid and allows utility workers and truckers to work longer hours than usual to help in relief efforts.
Perdue was touring damaged areas in Sanford, Dunn, Fayetteville, Bladenboro, Snow Hill and Colerain on Sunday. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan also planned to visit affected areas, and U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers visited Lee County.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama called Perdue Sunday morning to offer federal assistance in recovering from the disaster.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency were to begin assessing damage Sunday.
Across the Carolinas and Virgina, the National Weather Service recorded 87 tornadoes and 118 instances of other wind damage.
WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss explained that doesn't mean that there were actually 87 tornadoes. Some tornadoes might have touched down multiple times.
Some super-cell storms that crossed the state stayed together for 150 to 190 miles, Moss said.
Farms and poultry companies across the state also sustained heavy storm damage. A spokesman for the state agriculture department estimated Sunday that over 80,000 chickens were killed."