LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Cleanup continued in Gray Court after a tornado traveled through the area Friday night.
The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado touched down in Laurens county just before 7:15 p.m. and traveled into Spartanburg County.
“The Weather Service rated it as EF-1, which is approximately 100 mile an hour winds,” explained Doug Bryson, Spartanburg County’s Director of Emergency Services. “The path was about 21 miles long.”
Doorbell video shared with 7NEWS shows the winds picking up as the storm passed through Paul and Ginger Hughes’ backyard.
“I heard the wind getting up, and I opened the backdoor to the house,” explained Paul Hughes. “All you could see was rain and the wind. I hollered at my wife and said, ‘It’s here.'”
When the couple went outside, they saw the tree in their backyard had been completely uprooted. It damaged one of their sheds when it fell.
“It’s just amazing how the wind can pick something straight up like that, then it just goes right back not touching anything beside it,” said Hughes.
The tornado came ahead of South Carolina’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, a time in which emergency teams remind the public of precautions to take during storms
“We’re definitely getting into severe weather season with Spring upon us, which, usually, the most significant storms happen this time of year,” said Bryson.
Bryson said everyone should be prepared before storm season begins.
“Have a plan on where you’re going to go — where the safest area of your house is if you don’t have time to evacuate,” he said. “Sign up for free phone-based notifications. Have flashlights, battery-powered radios and some basic supplies – bottled water and non-perishable food.”
There will be a statewide tornado drill Wednesday at 9 a.m. that all public schools will take part in. Bryson encourages everyone to take time that day to go over tornado safety plans with their families.