Meteorologists with the National Weather Service (NWS) have confirmed at least five tornadoes touched down in central South Carolina Sunday evening.
Two people were injured when their mobile home flipped off its foundation about nine miles northwest of St. Matthews, according to the Calhoun County Emergency Preparedness Agency. Both were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Leonard Vaughn. Seven other structures suffered damage during Sunday’s storm.
Most of the damage was along Sunny Plains and Ott Sisters roads near Interstate 26 about halfway between the towns of St. Matthews and North, he said. Vaughn said the evidence and damage on scene was consistent with an EF-1 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. An EF-1 storm has wind speeds of roughly 86-110 miles per hour and tends to cause “moderate” damage.
A second team has confirmed a likely stronger EF-2 storm in two gated communities south of Aiken earlier that afternoon. An EF-2 storm has winds of at least 111 miles per hour, and causes “considerable” damage. While no injuries were reported, emergency officials at one point shut down 15 roads around the Woodside Plantation and Aiken Estates communities due to downed trees and other damage. Aiken Electric Cooperative and SCE&G peaked Sunday at nearly 7,000 combined power outages in the county. Most of those outages were repaired by midnight Monday.
National Weather Service teams are also heading to possible tornado sites along Lake Murray in Lexington County and another site in rural Edgefield County.
An NWS team also said it confirmed another EF-1 storm traveled across Lake Murray west of Lexington on Sunday. Most of the limited damage was located in the gated Turner Pointe subdivision, although one pontoon boat was lifted out of the water and deposited on a dock. Several trees had also fallen on a home near the Ballentine community on the lake’s north side.
Investigators also believe a rural area of Edgefield County southwest of Johnson experienced an EF-0 storm. An EF-0 is the lowest on the scale, with winds up to a maximum of 85 miles per hour and only “minor” damage usually reported. Emergency response crews reported no worse damage than downed trees. Forecasters believe the small tornado “intermittently” touched the ground over a 3.5-mile path.
Meanwhile, another Wilmington, N.C.-based NWS team confirmed a small tornado hit outside of Lamar later on Sunday. Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd said some homes and barns had been damaged, and trees and power lines were down along some roadways, but no injuries had been reported.