A team of meteorologists has confirmed two different tornadoes that caused some of the worst storm damage in three counties across the southern Midlands over the weekend.
The National Weather Service said one tornado that briefly grew into a weak EF-2 touched down southwest of Blackville, tore through Barnwell State Park and passed east, then northeast of the town into Bamberg County.
Minutes later, a second, smaller tornado formed on the opposite bank of the South Fork Edisto River near Binnicker Bridge Road in Orangeburg County and passed through rural areas north of Cope before dissipating near Snake Swamp. The area — about 50 miles south of Columbia and 20 miles southwest of Orangeburg –suffered damage to several structures and hundreds of downed power lines and trees.
The worst structural damage occurred to a single wide mobile home which NWS investigators said rolled several times and had the floors separated from the undercarriage. A woman who lived in the home was trapped and suffered injuries, although it is not clear how severe. Other structures suffered extensive roof damage, including several chicken houses. Another farm building collapsed north of Cope.
Tornadoes are ranked on the Enfahnced Fujita script from the lowest level EF-0 to the maximum 2. An EF-2 storm has winds between 111 and 135 miles per hour. It was the strongest tornado to hit the state in 16 months, since one hit Charleston County and damaged dozens of homes on Johns Island in September 2015.
It was among several tornadoes that were part of a storm that struck across the Southeast. 18 deaths were attributed to the storms, 14 of them in Georgia.