National Weather Service confirms South Carolina tornadoes
Oct. 24, 2017
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A National Weather Service team confirmed Tuesday that two tornadoes touched down in South Carolina during an outbreak of severe weather that flipped tractor-trailers and small planes, washed out roads and left thousands without electricity.
The survey team from Greer, South Carolina, viewed damage in Cherokee and Spartanburg counties from Monday's storms and said both places were hit by EF-2 tornadoes. On the Enhanced Fujita Scale, an EF-2 tornado carries winds of between 111 mph (178 km/h) and 135 mph (217 km/h).
According to the weather service, additional damage was to be surveyed and the tornado rating could be adjusted. A final assessment was expected Tuesday evening.
Another survey team went to Cleveland County, North Carolina, to look at damage there, but results were not immediately available.
In North Carolina, several stretches of the Blue Ridge Parkway were closed because of heavy rainfall. A news release from parkway officials said several storm-related closures were still in effect Tuesday. Park engineers are assessing the site for any additional undercutting of the road and needed repairs.
Officials for Chimney Rock State Park said on their webpage Tuesday that the wall at the top of a parking lot fell during Monday's heavy rainfall. The statement said some debris from the collapse was washed onto a road below. The park said the section will remain closed until further notice.
Stone Mountain State Park in Roaring Gap, North Carolina, was also closed because of downed trees.
"You could hear it howl through downtown," Michael Parsons told WXII-TV in Winston-Salem. His jewelry store in North Wilkesboro was damaged when a nearby roof blew off.
JoAnn Perez arrived home in Shelby, North Carolina, shortly after the storms passed to see her home pushed off its concrete slab, but her dogs and cat inside it were unharmed.
States of emergency were declared in Catawba County and the city of Hickory, where airplanes were flipped and two hangars damaged at Hickory Regional Airport.
In South Carolina, the storm crunched buildings, flipped tractor trailers, downed trees and wrecked homes in the Spartanburg area. The Highway Patrol reported approximately 20 accidents in Spartanburg County, as well as traffic light malfunctions and trees down in roadways on Monday afternoon.
Daily rainfall records were reported in Asheville and Charlotte in North Carolina, as well as the Greenville-Spartanburg area in South Carolina. Totals ranged from about 2 inches (5 centimeters) in Charlotte to more than 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) in Asheville. Streets were under water in Asheville and Boone, and firefighters rescued drivers from flooded roads in Pickens County in western South Carolina.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Duke Energy reported more than 54,000 customers were still without electricity. Of that total, 46,299 were in North Carolina and 7,908 were in South Carolina.
No deaths have been reported from the storms. Spartanburg Regional Hospital said it had treated eight people with minor injuries.