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Possible tornado injures 10 in North Carolina

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - A possible mid-winter tornado has struck a small western North Carolina community, injuring 10 people, two seriously, authorities said on Thursday.

The violent storm hit Ellenboro, in Rutherford County, about 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday and the destruction extended over a three-mile area, said Tommy Blanton with the county's emergency management office.

Crews were working on Thursday to clear debris and restore power, he said. The National Weather Service has sent a team to the area to investigate the storm.

Asked if the storm was a tornado, Pat Tanner, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Greer, South Carolina, said: "As far as we know, it was."

He said a mid-winter tornado would not be unusual since temperatures in the region have been about 10 degrees above normal for the past month or so.

Most tornadoes take place in the spring.

(Reporting by Wade Rawlins in Raleigh and Ian Simpson in Washington)

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