A survey team from the US National Weather Service says it was strong winds — but not a tornado — that damaged homes and downed trees in Horry County on Monday night.
The National Weather Service reported 75 mile-per-hour winds struck in a few communities west of Conway around 5:30 Monday evening, tearing the roof off one trailer home and blowing a tree on top of another. Six minor injuries and hospitalizations were reported, although all the patients had been released by Tuesday.
The NWS team examined the damage in the Juniper Bay Road area on Tuesday. But meteorologist Mark Bacon said the debris suggested “straight-line winds,” not a tornado. “When there’s damage to roofs and trees are either snapped or uprooted, it all occurs in the same direction,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “That air just travels in a straight line… The tornado obviously has a circular motion.”
Bacon said the winds were from a microburst, which is caused by intense winds that are pushed downwards by rain, hits the ground, and fans out in a straight line.
The winds caused mostly minor damage and caused a tree to crash onto a mobile home roof in a trailer park off Sleepy Hollow Lane. Another home along Singing Pine Road had its roof lifted off by the wind, although the NWS report states the roof had been “poorly secured.”
The storm left nearly 1,000 customers without power in Horry County, mainly in the Conway area. Marble-sized and even some golf ball-sized hail was reported in the region.