20110418 tornado 54
Family friend, Stan Joyner, steps through the remains of a home on Serendipity Drive after it was flattened by a tornado in Raleigh, North Carolina. - 

JEREMY HOBSON: Residents across the southeast are beginning the painful -- and expensive -- process of rebuilding homes, schools, and businesses after a storm system that spawned more than 200 tornadoes.

Governors in North Carolina and Virginia both declared states of emergency, which is the first step in asking the federal government to help pay some of the costs.

Marketplace's Janet Babin is with us live now from Durham, North Carolina with the latest Good morning Janet.

JANET BABIN: Good morning Jeremy.

HOBSON: First of all, what's it like there? Tell us what happened.

BABIN: Well, where I am in Durham, there were severe thunderstorms over the weekend. On Saturday the sky got super dark and scary looking but no tornadoes. But not too far away in tons of other places in the state, there were some major problems. About 62 twisters touched down and caused 21 deaths. More than 130 homes were destroyed and more than 700 are badly damaged.

In the state's capital, Raleigh -- a big city -- trees were downed and blocked major roadways over the weekend. And at a Lowes home improvement store, about 40 miles south of Raleigh, a hundred people had the scare of their lives when a tornado there ripped the steel roof off the store. Everyone was OK though.

HOBSON: Wow. Well what about the long term damage, Janet?

BABIN: Well it looks like it's going to be pretty bad. The damage at Shaw University forced the school to cancel classes for the rest of the semester there. And North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue says K-12 schools were hit hard as well.

BEV PERDUE: We saw two major school losses. One in Cumberland, one in Greene County. You're six weeks from the end of school. And people there are just trying to figure out what they can do in the short term to have these children do what they need to. And in the long term, how they pay for the infrastructure to rebuild a school.

So, it's going to be weeks before final damage assessments are in Jeremy, but repairs are probably going to cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

HOBSON: Marketplace's Janet Babin in Durham, North Carolina, thanks and glad you're safe.

BABIN: Thank you.