Tornado

Home and business owners who file insurance claims in the wake of last weekend's storm and have a dispute with their insurer could be eligible for a state mediation program. 

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin activated the program earlier this week in anticipation of problems as many people put in claims for storm damage. 

Spokeswoman Kerry Hall from the state Department of Insurance says her office is starting to get calls from people with questions:

Students of Ben Martin Elementary School in Fayetteville are back in class after a tornado devastated the campus last weekend. Forecasters say one of Saturday's fiercest tornadoes touched down in Cumberland County with maximum winds of 140 miles per hour. Damages to Ben Martin Elementary could be more than $5 million. Principal Crystal Brown surveyed the school grounds on the day of the storm.

President Obama has declared disaster areas in central and eastern North Carolina. Residents in 18 counties can apply for disaster relief funds today on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website. 

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler toured several eastern counties yesterday to get a handle on the damage. He says most of the damage was to infrastructure, equipment and livestock. And that will be expensive for farmers to replace.

All flags will be placed at half-staff for the remainder of the work week at state government and university buildings.

Shaw University's historic marker propped on the ground after storm.
Leoneda Inge

  Clean-up crews and emergency management teams are working over-time in a 20 county area of the state.  This is where most of the damage occurred after those deadly and destructive tornadoes over the weekend.

In Wake County – officials are already beginning to put a price tag on the cost of the damage. 

 State and federal officials are assessing the extent of the damage caused by tornadoes in North Carolina on Saturday. Jessica Jones reports from Raleigh.

Downed trees and power lines have turned downtown Raleigh into a ghost town. Cleanup crews could be seen this afternoon clearing away branches and other debris. Raleigh's mayor, Charles Meeker, says even though tornadoes cut a small swath through the city, they were very destructive. 

Wake County Emergency Management workers continue disaster relief efforts this morning. Saturday's tornadoes and severe thunderstorms left many homeless. Emergency Operations Center manager Steve Newton says his first priority is helping those residents start the recovery process.

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