Strong winds, low humidity pose safety threat to already weakened trees

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Strong winds could bring down trees weakened by the recent winter storm, adding more debris to the already one thousand tons of downed limbs in Conway.

One family's home was struck by a tree Wednesday night as wind gusts pushed the pine straight onto the roof of the house and vehicle in the driveway.

It was just after 10 p.m. when the Richardson family started to head to bed. Suddenly, a forceful wind shook the house.

"My daughter, Hope, ran downstairs. I called for my son but couldn't hear him. Before I could find him. I didn't know what to think. It sounded like the entire roof collapsed," described Morris Richardson.

When Richardson walked outside, he realized the wind uprooted a tree, crashing into his truck and home.

"I think the pickup took most of the impact, kept the tree from damaging the home even more," he said as he walked around his totaled truck. The back of the roof slammed down to the bed of the truck.

While he is glad no one got hurt, the damage is extensive and expensive.

"All the sheet rock upstairs, in my daughter's room, all the walls are crumbling," said Richardson.

The family had to call in a crane to remove the heavy tree.

WMBF First Alert Meteorologist Jamie Arnold explained the winds in the area were around 45 mph, and were responsible for downed trees and power lines.

Horry County Emergency Management said with the recent winter storm and now the high winds and low humidity, wildfires are a serious threat to the area.

The weather conditions create a perfect storm for brush fires, so Horry County Fire Rescue has issued a burn ban for the county.

"While out burning storm debris, you don't realize how fast the flames can get away from you during these weather conditions," warned Julius Graham with HCFR.

Emergency Responders warn you should get someone out to your property now to remove any overhanging limbs.

"Be aware, look up. Make sure no branches are hanging over you because all it takes is one wind gust to fall down and hurt you," Graham said.

The recent rain is also adding to the mix.

"The ice, the cold, the recent rain - when the ground becomes saturated. The trees get weaker and could fall over in high winds," Graham explained.

HCFR also asks you take caution of other incendiary devices during the burn ban. Objects like cigarettes and fireworks can cause wildfires just as quickly as a brush fire.

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