Last updated: March 26. 2014 8:41AM - 1159 Views

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North Carolina experienced it’s most violent and deadly tornado outbreak 30 years ago today — on March 28,1984.

During that dark and stormy Wednesday evening, a wave of 22 twisters — including seven of F-4 strength — marched through the two Carolinas, leaving 57 fatalities and 1,248 injured in their aftermath.

The monstrous storm system featured three separate tornadoes that either approached or exceeded a 2-mile-wide swath from Bennettsville to Roseboro. A total of 26 counties in the two Carolinas lay in ruins before daybreak on March 29. Some 1,400 homes were leveled, leaving more than 3,500 residents homeless.

Even in light of the record outbreak of April 16, 2011, in our state, the atmospheric conditions that created the 1984 rampage still remains the most intense and unstable episode of weather ever recorded in Carolina history.

As with the passage of any natural calamity in our region, the outpouring of human aid for the stricken areas was just overwhelming. Food and clothing supplies came in from across the nation, along with relief workers by the hundreds.

The North Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief van was deployed to Red Springs and Greenville, it’s very first relief mission for our country.

The Christian spirit of people helping their neighbors after our epic outbreak is probably best exemplified in the form of a small ground plaque located on the lawn of Bennettsville, S.C., resident Zach Rogers. It reads simply: “March 28, 1984 … In God We Trust.”

To read more about those tornadoes of March 1984, Google jonathanfinch/bangladeshtornadoes and click on “special case studies.”

Jeffrey Bryan

White Oak


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