MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- Today marks 16 years since the most famous tornado to ever strike the Myrtle Beach area.
During the late afternoon hours of July 6th, 2001, a supercell thunderstorm developed along the Grand Strand coastline. At 4:30 PM, a tornado formed and cut a two mile long path down the beach from 2nd Avenue North down to near Springmaid Pier. The tornado finally dissipated near the Myrtle Beach International Airport.
The EF2 tornado packed winds upward of 115 mph causing damage to numerous buildings, billboards, utility poles, and vehicles. Many cars and large hotels had their windows blown out while several structures experienced roof damage. Some vehicles were actually flipped over by the intense winds, including two tourist trolleys. The most extensive damage occurred in the area of the Myrtle Beach pavilion.
Damage from this tornado is an estimated $8,000,000. At the height of the storm, up to 4,000 Myrtle Beach residents were without power.
The tornado struck during the busy 4th of July weekend, with more than 400,000 vacationers in Myrtle Beach. Many of the vacationers recorded the large tornado as it tore through the city. Thirty six people were injured during the storm and were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.