The indirect damage from the storm is what could significantly hamper wheat production this year. The storm produced over 60 tornadoes and virtually no major wheat producing counties were spared some sort of damage. The amount of debris swept up in the multiple storms and dispersed across thousands of acres of prime North Carolina farmland is enormous.  

One grower reported losing 100 of 120 tobacco barns. One large turf producer lost 22 greenhouses — just gone, he says, debris likely miles away. Farm equipment barns, chicken houses, tin-roofed farm structures of many kinds and grain storage silos were particularly vulnerable to the storms.

Much of this debris, sheets of tin, large pieces of wood, and thousands of other pieces of what was parts of homes and farms found its way into farm fields all along the 150-plus mile path the storms took from southwest to northeast across the state.

More than a quarter-million people lost power during the storm, but by late Monday that had dropped to a few thousand. The storm not only brought down power lines, but crews responding to outages found the storm had been so strong that some wires had simply vanished.

Emergency workers took damage estimates to see if uninsurable losses reach $10.3 million, the minimum amount needed for North Carolina to qualify for federal disaster assistance. Residents without insurance were advised to take photos of the damage before they clean up.

As of Tuesday afternoon, plans were still incomplete on farm assistance from North Carolina prison system inmates. Legal and liability issues bogged down the process, but North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue is expected to sign legislation to allow use of prisoners to do debris removal on farmland. (For earlier coverage of the tornado damage visit http://southeastfarmpress.com/management/deadly-tornadoes-rip-through-north-carolina-farm-country.

rroberson@farmpress.com