Tornado injures 15 in western North Carolina

The wooden back deck of Byron Cole's home sits cluttered while his friends and family help to clean-up the storm damage near Ellenboro, N.C. Thursday Jan. 12, 2012. At least 15 people were injured and at least 60 buildings damaged when a possible tornado struck in western North Carolina, the National Weather Service said Thursday. The storms struck in Rutherford and Burke counties late Wednesday afternoon as a cold front moved through the western Carolinas, meteorologist Neil Dixon with the weather service office in Greer, S.C., said. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

January 12, 2012 8:13:38 PM PST
The National Weather Service says it was a tornado that damaged dozens of homes and injured at least 15 people in western North Carolina.

The weather service's forecast office in Greer, S.C., said Thursday that investigators confirmed the tornado with winds of around 115 miles an hour.

The storm system struck Rutherford and Burke counties Wednesday afternoon. At least 10 people were hurt in the Ellenboro community of Rutherford County, with five injures reported in Burke County.

Burke County Fire Marshal Mark Pitts says at least 16 homes were destroyed, and about 50 others damaged.