Tornado not cause of storm damage in Conway

07/29/2014 5:03 PM

07/30/2014 6:04 AM

A microburst, not a tornado, is to blame for storm damage that included a roof blown off and a tree that crashed into a home in Conway.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C. sent two people to the Conway area to investigate the cause of the damage.

A preliminary report released by the NWS Tuesday identified a microburst that started between Juniper Bay Road and Four Mile Road as the culprit for the “scattered tree damage.”

A microburst, according to the NWS, is a convective downdraft with an affected outflow area less than 2.5 miles wide with peak winds that last less than five minutes. The winds were straight-line and did not have rotation, which eliminated a tornado as the cause.

Cheri Sweeney lives on the 3900 block of Long Avenue Extension and said none of her neighbors had damage, but said it looked like an army had stomped through her yard leading her to believe a tornado came through.

“If you saw our yard, you’d be shocked,” she said.

Sweeney said she hasn’t seen damage this bad during past hurricanes and expects cleanup the mess up to take as long as five days. One tree split, a limb from another landed mostly vertical “like if you threw a spear into the grown,” she said. There was thunder and hail too, but she said she didn’t see any lightning.

The NWS said a trailer park along Sleepy Hollow Lane suffered primarily minor damage to a couple structures with a tree that uprooted and fell on a home. Several other trees were uprooted, the investigators noted and a strong winds were likely what damaged a mobile home along Singing Pine Road which had it’s roof completely lifted.

Winds in the area were estimated to hit 75 mph, the NWS said.

The microburst weakened as it moved toward the Dunn Short Cut Road area, causing several downed limbs and uprooted trees. The damage was worsened by the already “very saturated” ground from heavy rains in the last week. The weaker winds still involved gusts up to 60 mph, the NWS said.

The investigation into the storm and damage remains preliminary.

There were six injuries, all inside a home at 1901 Lundy Avenue where a tree fell on a roof. Six people inside, ages 19, 15, 11, 10 and 4 received minor injuries, said Demonche Horry, the eldest inside the home at the time.

The thunderstorm knocked out power to as many as 2,000 customers, according to Santee Cooper.

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