Tornadoes of May 8, 2008 Swirled Through Triad, Killing One

6:33 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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Video: A Look Back At The Tornadoes of May 8, 2008

Video: Tornado To-Do

  • (Image Credit: National Weather Service)
  • (Image Credit: National Weather Service)
  • (Image Credit: National Weather Service)
  • (Image Credit: National Weather Service)

Greensboro, NC -- On May 8, 2008 one of the strongest tornadoes to ever touch down in the Triad tore through the small town of Clemmons.

Around 10:25pm that Thursday evening an EF-2 tornado tracked northeast out of Davie County across the Yadkin River and into Forsyth County near the old Clemmons water treatment plan along idols Dam Road.  The tornado continued to the northeast before briefly lifting off the ground just before slamming into the Woodmont Subdivision.

The tornado touched back down just southwest of the Bridgepoint subdivision as it strengthened to an EF-3 with winds of 140 mph. AS THE EF-3 tornado ripped through the Bridgepoint neighborhood it destroyed three homes and sustained moderate damage to at least 30 homes. Fortunately there were only two minor injuries in the Bridgepoint subdivision.


A second tornado formed that night roughly an hour later around 11:29 in Guilford County on the west side of Greensboro.  The tornado initially touched down as an EF-0 just north of Squire Davis Park near the intersection of Sandy Ridge Road and Johson Street.  The tornado then began to intensify to an EF-1 as it tracked northeast and approached the Farmers Market and I-40.

The tornado then crossed I-40 and overturned several cars and tractor trailers. The tornado eventually strengthened to an EF-2 with estimated winds of 130 mph. At it's widest point the tornado was just over 200 yards wide. Just as the tornado crossed West Market Street, near the post office, it lifted leaving a path length of 4 miles.

Though the Greensboro tornado was weaker than the tornado earlier in the evening it did cause one fatality.

The resounding lesson that survivors have expressed is the importance of paying attention to watches and warnings and always having a severe weather plan. The safest place to be during a tornado is on the lowest level of a sturdy structure in the inner most room. The idea is to get as far away from the outside as possible. If you are caught outside then the best option is to find a low laying area such as a ditch or culvert, lay down flat and put your arms over your head. Never seek shelter under an overpass as winds and debris can be funneled into that overpass creating a greater risk of injury and even death.

Since the Clemmons EF- 3 tornado there has only been one other EF-3 tornado in the Piedmont Triad. This tornado occurred in High Point on March 28, 2010. The entire state has only seen eight EF-3 tornadoes since 2008.

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