NWS Storm Team Confirms Tornado Touchdown Sunday in Hart County

The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg confirms a tornado did touch down in Hart County Sunday.

Storm investigators with the National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg are in Franklin and Hart counties today checking on damage from Sunday’s two powerful storms.

Meteorologist Lauren Carroll tells WNEG News the storm team confirmed the twister touched down near Airline-Goldmine Road in Bowersville and cut a path towards Bethany Church Road.

This afternoon, the team will inspect storm damage in Hartwell.

Both Franklin and Hart counties reported storm damage and power outages as a result of the storms that came through Sunday afternoon and again Sunday evening.

Carroll says investigators have been in Franklin County and part of Hart County this morning checking on damage after their radar indicated Sunday a tornado may have touched down in or near Lavonia.

“So, the first line of storms we believe was probably straight line wind damage just based on the pattern that we saw,” Carroll said. “With the second line of storms, we saw evidence of a potential tornado on radar. And so, there was also some damage associated with those storms as well. We had quite a collection of damage in the whole area because the storms were just that strong.”

First reports Sunday indicated an EF-zero tornado may have touched down in Lavonia.

Trees downed power lines and damaged homes throughout the Lavonia and Gumlog area Sunday as well in parts of Hart County.  A large tree fell onto a house on Peachtree St in Lavonia Sunday damaging the roof.

Also, storm winds blew over a large tree on Augusta Road in Lavonia near the Dill’s Shopping Plaza Sunday afternoon, knocking out power in the area and knocking sister station WLHR Radio off the air for a time.

However, as of 10a this morning, Carroll said the team has determined there was no tornado in Franklin County, but one may have touched down in Hart County.

“I have track that crosses Bowersville Highway and then also crosses over Highway 77, the Lavonia Highway,” Carroll noted. “That’s where we saw rotation and there was some damage in the Bowersville Highway area. So, that’s our question right now; was that related to a tornado or was that straight line wind damage.”

Carroll said when determining whether a tornado hit investigators look for specific tree and damage patterns that are typically left by a tornado.

“The most clear distinction between straight line winds and a tornado is going to be in general tree fall direction. So, with straight line winds you will see trees falling in a similar direction. With a tornado, we look for a clear pattern of trees that are falling towards each other; that are actually falling across each other in some cases, along the length of a track that we’ve seen on radar,” Carroll explained.

Hart EMC reported over 1500 power outages in Franklin and Hart Counties Sunday – much of the outages were in the Gumlog community where 922 customers had the lights go out for about two hours Sunday afternoon.

Hart EMC reported all power was restored by Sunday night.