Discuss as:

Weather officials confirm tornado hit western North Carolina

Ben Earp / The Star via AP

Hannah Martin,15, hands the just-rescued puppy Brownie to North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 after the puppy was rescued from the rubble of a mobile home destroyed by a EF2 tornado in Ellenboro, N.C. on Wednesday.

Is tornado season starting early this year?

AP reports: ELLENBORO, N.C. (AP) - Weather officials confirm there was a tornado in the storm system that swept through parts of western North Carolina this week, flinging mobile homes into valleys, damaging dozens of buildings and injuring nearly 20 people.

The storm system struck Rutherford and Burke counties on Wednesday, as a cold front moved through the western Carolinas. A National Weather Service survey team reported the system produced a tornado of EF2 strength, with winds of roughly 115 miles an hour.

Ben Earp / The Star via AP

Volunteers and family help clean up Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 after a EF2 tornado destroyed several homes in Ellenboro, N.C. Wednesday.

Related: First Tornado of 2012 Confirmed in Texas