National Weather Service confirms tornado struck Darlington Coun - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

National Weather Service confirms tornado struck Darlington County

The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down in Darlington County on Thursday. (Source: WMBF News) The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down in Darlington County on Thursday. (Source: WMBF News)
A tornado caused damage in a Darlington County neighborhood on Thursday. (Source: Audrey Biesk) A tornado caused damage in a Darlington County neighborhood on Thursday. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
A tornado caused damage in a Darlington County neighborhood on Thursday. (Source: Audrey Biesk) A tornado caused damage in a Darlington County neighborhood on Thursday. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C. has confirmed that a tornado struck Darlington County Thursday night.

According to NWS meteorologist Carl Morgan, the tornado touched down roughly a mile from Philadelphia Street, which is in the Oates community.

The NWS assigned an EF1 rating to the tornado near Oates, with winds of 73 to 112 mph.  

Officials with Darlington County Emergency Management said the storm moved through the area around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Shortly after, emergency officials were called to the Oates community for reports of damage.

One Philadelphia Street homeowner, Catherine McKenzie, said she and her family were inside the house as the tornado passed.

According to McKenzie, she was laying on the bed with her grandson and heard the wind rumbling outside. Four people were inside her house and five were in her daughter's house right next door. She said the storm didn’t last long and all she could do was keep praying.

“I thought my daughter was gone because I didn’t know if her house was standing or not," McKenzie said. "It was the most horrible feeling in the world because you don’t know if they are alive or dead, but God saved us all. He did and I’m thankful for that." 

The walls, the roof and appliances are completely torn apart and scattered belongings are left on the floor. 

“Nobody can prepare for something like this, nobody," McKenzie said. "When we got up, the bed was gone, everything in the room was gone except us, and we were on the floor by ourselves with nothing around it. I mean, just by the grace of God. we were saved.”

McKenzie said her daughter suffered a few cuts to her feet, but was otherwise OK. 

"Our dog was tied up to a tree, the tree uprooted and took the dog with it, and landed in the yard and he was okay too," she said. "So God took care of all of us."

McKenzie said the American Red Cross is assisting her family with emergency needs. move on.

According to the DCEM, the tornado likely started near the 1200 block of Fisherman Road in the Oates community and ended near the 900 block of South Marquis Highway in Hartsville.

Most damage ranged from minor to major. However, four residential structures were destroyed, according to the DCEM. There was only one reported injury, which was minor.

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