National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

During the afternoon of Tuesday May 23, 2017, a tornado touched down near the community of Parkton in extreme northern Robeson County, NC.  This tornado developed from a shower that hadn't yet even produced a lightning strike, and moved northeastward along a path 2.2 miles long.  Maximum wind speeds with this tornado were estimated to have reached 75 miles per hour making this an EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.  The damage path was approximately 30 yards wide.

This was the same cell that later produced another tornado touchdown in Sampson County, NC near the town of Autryville.  The NWS in Raleigh reports they surveyed a 14-mile long non-continuous damage path associated with that tornado with estimated wind speeds in the 105-110 mph range.


Track of the Parkton, NC tornado on May 23, 2017

Map of the observed tornado damage near Parkton.  Click the image for a full-size view.


Damage to a mobile home and shed

Damage to a mobile home and a shed.  Picture credit: Robeson County Emergency Management Agency

Damage to a storage building

Damage to a storage building.  Picture credit: Robeson County Emergency Management Agency



Radar loop from Parkton tornado: May 23, 2017

Four-panel display of KLTX (Wilmington/Shallotte, NC) radar data from the Parkton tornado event. Top-left panel is 0.5 degree reflectivity, approximately 5,800 feet aloft at the tornado's location.  Top-right panel is 0.5 degree storm-relative velocity.  Bottom-left panel is 1.3 degree reflectivity, approximately 11,300 feet aloft at the tornado's location.  Bottom-left panel is Vertically Integrated Liquid (VIL) and lightning flash data.  Click the image for a full-size view.


Preliminary storm report

Location...Parkton in Robeson County North Carolina
Date...May 23 2017
Estimated Time...338 PM EDT to 343 PM EDT
Beginning Latitude/Longitude...34.9156N / -79.0695W
Ending Latitude/Longitude...34.9239N / -79.0313W
Maximum EF-Scale Rating...EF0 
Estimated Maximum Wind Speed...75 MPH 
Maximum Path Width...30 Yards 
Path Length...2.2 miles
* Fatalities...0
* Injuries...0

* The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to
change pending final review of the event(s) and publication in
NWS Storm Data.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington NC has confirmed a
tornado near Parkton in Robeson County North Carolina on May
23 2017.

The tornado initially touched down just south of Sandy Grove Rd. 
west of Chason Rd. where it severely damaged a metal topped farm 
building. The tornado moved into a field then crossed Sandy Grove 
Rd. causing large limbs to snap and roof uplift on a church and 
minor structural damage on the north side of the Sandy Grove and 
Chason Rd. intersection. It then moved east of Chason Rd. and just 
north of Sandy Grove Rd. causing some uprooted trees and downed 
large limbs. 

As the tornado approached the intersection of Barlow Rd. and Sandy
Grove Rd. it caused additional downed limbs, minor damage to four 
structures, and destroyed an outbuilding. The tornado crossed 
Barlow Rd. and across fields until it crossed the Sansbury Lane 
area where it caused minor damage to a few more homes. It also 
uprooted a couple trees, one of which had a diameter greater than 
4 feet. The tornado crossed Dave Bridge Rd. where it knocked down a
few trees and lifted near Glenn Rd. There were no injuries 
reported and the wind speed was fairly consistent along the entire

For reference: the Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes
into the following categories:

EF0...Wind speeds 65 to 85 mph
EF1...Wind speeds 86 to 110 mph
EF2...Wind speeds 111 to 135 mph
EF3...Wind speeds 136 to 165 mph
EF4...Wind speeds 166 to 200 mph
EF5...Wind speeds greater than 200 mph

Page Author: Tim Armstrong
Page Created: May 24, 2017
Last Updated: May 24, 2017