EF-1 Tornado Struck in the Midlands, Weather Service Confirms

The National Weather Service is trying to determine if the damage was caused by a tornado.

Holly Hill, SC (WLTX) - The National Weather Service confirms an EF-1 tornado is responsible for the damage  in the town of Holly Hill Thursday night.

The weather service Friday surveyed the area on Pine Street that suffered damage, as well as some houses in the county that had trees fall on them, and issued their assessment late Friday afternoon.

An EF-1 is the second lowest level on the Enhanced Fujita scale that measures a tornado's intensity, and means the storm had winds between 86 and 110 miles an hour.

"We're seeing damage kind of in different directions, trees coming down in different directions which indicates the potential for a tornado to have touched down in this area," Senior Forecaster John Quagliariello said after inspecting the damage.

The high winds ripped a metal roof off a strip mall in the town. The roof then hit some power lines, and finally landed in the street.

Cindy O'Neal runs the Holly Hill Observer newspaper out of that strip mall.

"There were people around here that were concerned. I had gone to bed. I had my jams on, starting to dose off when I got another phone call that I heard, so I answered the phone and was told to get up here," she said. "These are our archives going back to 1972 when the paper was first founded, so there's a lot of history for the community being stored here. I may have to try and get some of our most important things here and pull the computers out today because I don't know how long they will keep the power off, but I think we were very lucky."

Holly Hill Police Chief Josh Detter said there was no other damage in the city, and no reported injuries.

Marlynn Edwards attends the First Baptist church across the street. A tree narrowly missed their building and crashed on the back lawn.

"This is devastating. This is just something that happens somewhere else. Not here, but God watched over us," Edwards said.
Where the tree fell on the house, volunteers for the American Red Cross are helping the three adults and two kids living in the home the tree fell on. Monetary help for food, clothes, and other essentials are being provided.

A tornado warning was in effect for the Holly Hill area when the storm rolled through. 

PHOTOS: Storm Damage in Holly Hill


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