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4/16/2011 Tornado

BARC club member, Hollis, KC3X, and Sandy Thigpen, K4SMT, home destroyed by tornado.

The following pictures were taken on April 29, 13 days after the tornado hit Snow Hill, NC.  Bernie Nobles, WA4MOK, and Dave Langley, W4YDY, visited the disaster site and Hollis explained some of the strange things that happened. Only his truck was able to be repaired and the radio in the truck did not seem to be damaged.  He will have to replace the other radios and computers.  The laptop with the County Hunter Logger program with about 83,000 records and years of data was copied from the hard drive plugged into a docking station and put on CD and DVD. 

The only antenna to survive the tornado was a Tarheel Antenna.  A Little Tarheel antenna that was in the metal garage was found about 1/4 mile away out in the field behind his property.  Hollis had Bernie take it home with him to check it out.  It still worked fine on a tripod and also on a truck.  The scratches on the black paint did not hurt the operation and the Lexan cover over the coil looks like new.  Also the 32 inch whip that came with it was attached and it was in perfect shape and not damaged or bent. 

WCTI-12 had a 2 minute report and interview with Hollis the next day.  Check it out

Watch a You Tube video of the tornado that hit the KC3X QTH.  It was shot by a paramedic as it narrowly missed EOC headquarters in Snow Hill, NC.  Hollis watched the video and said he could tell when it went over his property.
Click on the pictures to get a larger and more detailed view. Photos by W4YDY unless noted.

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1. Entering the property of KC3X and K4SMT 400 + foot long driveway.  The 'house' is on the left.  If the metal garage was still there, you could see it easily behind the motor home on the right. Expand the picture and you can see the tower on the ground at the end of the driveway but clearer in picture # 3 below.  2. Approaching the house.  Only the front left side wall is left 13 days later.  The truck is backed into the garage to haul debris away.   When we arrived, Hollis was breaking up the tile for removal from the kitchen floor. 
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3. A very nice motor home furnished by Ed Fisher, N3HOO.  He drove it down from Pennsylvania 3 days after the storm so Hollis and Sandy would have a temporary home.

4. Hollis, KC3X, is showing Bernie, WA4MOK, where he and Sandy were hiding at the end of the hall next to the air intake when the tornado passed over them. 

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5. Over Hollis's left shoulder near the tree line is some debris.   That is what is left of his two barns when the tornado destroyed them.  They were flooded in 1999 during Hurricane Floyd and he lost a lot of his possessions including QSL cards and county hunting awards.  6. Hollis and Sandy hid at the end of the hallway and it was a miracle that they were not injured or killed.  The air intake that Hollis is leaning on was at the end of the hall.
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7. Bernie and Hollis 8. Looking back at the house through the garage.  The electric meter was on the back of the house.  The tornado not only took out the back wall and meter, but pulled the large electric wires going to the inside power panel out of the house just leaving a hole in the floor below where the power panel was once located. 
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9. The Ed Fisher, N3HOO, motor home. The concrete area left of the motor home is where Hollis's metal garage was located. 

10. The left side of the metal garage.  Only part of the workshop that Hollis built inside the building is left standing. His Harley-Davidson motorcycle was destroyed and the trailer was found in the woods over 1/2 mile away.

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11. The side of the workshop that was on the North wall. 12. Looking back from the house, you can see the tower laying on the ground.
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13. That's what a US Tower 72 foot crack-up tower looks like after 155 to 165 MPH tornado moving 85 MPH on a NNW track passes over it!  The tower was not up to its full height when it was hit by the tornado.  The Weather Channel reported the tornado strength and speed.  14. Hollis and Bernie looking at the damaged tower.
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15. Bernie taking a closer look. 16. The tornado bent the tower over like a piece of wire.  The leg next to the ground was broken off and the tee bracket was bent along with one of the large bolts in the cement.  The bolt will also require replacement. 
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17. The tilt mechanism just above the tower was also bent 90 degrees. 18. His mailbox door with the house number on it, ended up with the tower, 600 feet from the road.  .
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19. Part of the antenna in pieces on the ground.  The Force 12 C4XL antenna did not fair good.  Parts of the antenna probably ended up in the next county.  Some debris from businesses in Snow Hill, Greene County was found in Pitt County 12 miles away.  20. In the foreground is part of a garage door opener with only 1 spring.  The tree line in the far distance is about 6/10 of a mile away.  That is the wooded area where his motorcycle trailer was found. About a mile past that, the only middle school in Greene County was destroyed.  The high school just to the left of the tornado path had some damage before it destroyed the middle school nearby.   Middle school students are using the high school in the mornings and high school students in the afternoon to finish the year. 
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21. Looking back at the top of the tower and parts of the antenna. 22. View of the house from the back with the truck backed into the garage.  
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23.  View of the tower, house and what's left of the metal garage. 24. The debris in the foreground is part of the master bedroom bed that was brought in from the field nearby.
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25. Most of the trees at the back of property line are bent and broken over.  A lot of debris from his place and several houses across the highway ended up in the trees and canal back of the trees. Hollis reported about 3 weeks later that all of those trees had to be removed due to the damage to them.      26. A canal at the back of the tree line.  You can see parts of a 30 foot Rohn 25G tower that Hollis had for his TV antenna.  The tornado broke the tower apart and most of it ended up 400 feet behind his house.
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27. The debris in the canal from his house and some from several houses across the highway about 1000 feet away.  28. A side by side refrigerator with the doors gone landed in the tree line next to the canal.  It came from one of the houses across the highway. 

November 22, 2011
At last, progress!

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Hollix, KC3X, in green shirt. KC3X Photo

It'll soon be covered. KC3X Photo

February 2012
More progress!

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Brick finished and outside trim being done. KC3X Photo

Drywall finished. KC3X Photo

May 23, 2012
Moved in at last!

KC3X New Home

Hollis and Sandy finally got moved in but still a lot of work to do.  Hollis said it will be a long time before he can get something on the air.  Check out the video of new tornado shelter on the video page.  KC3X Photo

Click on the pictures to get a larger and more detailed view.


Brightleaf ARC Home Pictures Video

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Copyright 2012 - W4YDY

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