A line of strong thunderstorms that moved through the area Saturday caused some light flooding and brought heavy winds, including a probable tornado in the Socastee area.
Horry County and Brunswick County, N.C., were put under a tornado warning around 4:20 p.m. Saturday and until 4:45 the National Weather Service in Wilmington received reports of a funnel cloud, mostly from around the Amberfield Subdivision in Socastee.
“We have not confirmed a tornado touchdown, but I’ve seen enough video from news sources down there that I can say it was likely a touchdown,’ said Tim Armstrong, NWS meteorologist. “One video showed debris about 200 feet in the air, which would be indicative of a very weak tornado with winds less than 75 mph.”
One local who didn’t need to see video was WBTW meteorologist Andrew Phillips, who was at the news station on McDonald Court when the funnel cloud passed.
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“I was sitting here looking out the window of our station and saw the funnel cloud right outside our studio,” Phillips said.
Both meteorologists said that reports of damage were minimal, isolated to downed trees, shingles and blown over garbage cans.
Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster was apprised of the situation, but received no calls for aid.
“There was nothing we had to respond to, just some minor stuff there in Amberfield,” he said. “No one was asking for assistance.”
A team from the NWS was expected to visit the area Sunday morning to measure the damage, including the path width to determine if it was indeed a tornado.
The Grand Strand area won’t be out of the threat of scattered thunderstorms for a while, although a repeat of Saturday isn’t likely.
“We’ll see some more rain and thunderstorms [Sunday],” Phillips said, “but we’re not expecting to see anything like Saturday.”