NWS confirms Holly Hill tornado

By Eric

HOLLY HILL, SC (WCIV) -- A tornado touched down in Orangeburg County Tuesday night.

The tornado moved through the area of Holly Hill shortly after 10 p.m. According to the National Weather Service, the storm has been rated at least an EF-1. It's the weakest of its kind, but packed quite a punch for the people it impacted.

"We were in the house, in the kitchen, and all of a sudden everything was just shaking," said Preston Carson.

Another Holly Hill homeowner described a similar experience.

"This being a brick house, I told Steven, it was just like it was picking it up," Barbara Gooden said.

It didn't take long, but in just seconds a tornado tore through the section of Holly Hill. It picked up and put down trees, dumped heavy rain and also pounded property.

"In the wooded area, you can see it just destroyed trees, snapped them off, broke them off," said Aaron Lambright, who witnessed the storm.

"It wasn't really a whole lot of wind until that 30 seconds," said Carson. "I heard people say it sounds like a train, that's what it sounded like."

It was gone in just moments but proved plenty powerful. High winds forced a massive tree into a home along Gardner Road. Standing water now surrounds New Galilee Christian Church. Another tree there was uprooted and left laying on its side.

Gooden's home on Coach Road took one of the storm's biggest blows. She called it a miracle neither her or her husband were hurt.

"It moved several things. It filled up our swimming pool, not with people. Unpleasant things are floating in there," she said.

Debris not only found the pool but also the front yard, where roof shingles were scattered everywhere. Gooden's backyard became littered with giant branches. Still, some of the worst damage was inside.

"The ceilings are all wet, brown. Water came down through the fans and down the walls like a stream. It almost looked like a waterfall," Gooden said.

Wind speeds in an EF-1 tornado can be measured in the range of 90 to 100 miles per hour.