“It’s amazing how much damage these storms did in Bertie County and even more amazing the amount of debris left behind by the storm. In some cases farmers won’t be able to harvest winter crops or plant spring crops without some kind of help in removing debris from their farms,” Troxler says.   

Earlier this week, the North Carolina Department of Corrections approved the use of minimum security inmates to assist in debris removal and to provide security and traffic control in areas that still have limited access by roads due to storm damage 

Inmate work crews are assisting with debris removal in three areas. Crews from Pasquotank Minimum Custody Unit and Tyrrell Prison Work Farm are clearing debris in Colerain. Robeson Correctional Center inmates removed debris at a school in Rowland, and crews from Duplin Correctional Center are removing debris in areas around Snow Hill.

Inmate access to private lands had been an issue, but was resolved on Wednesday to allow inmates to help with debris removal on farm land. Inmates assigned to the work crews are in minimum custody and are screened prior to being placed on jobs outside the prison facility.

To the north, Virginia also experienced damage and death as a killer tornado tore through Gloucester County in southeast Virginia on Saturday. It was an unusual type of twister for southeastern Virginia — a "long-track" F2, or EF2, as it's known under the new measuring system.

Dan Proch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, said Saturday's twister left a trail of destruction that started in Surry County and leapt two rivers before slamming down in Gloucester around 7 p.m., where it raked an 8.5-mile path that left two people dead and 60 injured.

rroberson@farmpress.com