Weather Service confirms Wilmington Island tornado

Waterspout spotted from Cocoa's on Tybee [by Pam Minish]

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga (WSAV) – At a mid-day news conference, officials with the National Weather Service out of Charleston confirmed the tornado that dozens of News 3 viewers witnessed Tuesday evening.

The NWS along with Chatham Emergency Management canvassed Wilmington Island along Walthour Road as well as in Wilmington Park assessing damage. The Weather Service has not categorized the tornado yet as they were making their way to Fort Pulaski for one last assessment.

“We’re somewhere in a high-end EF-0 to low-end EF-1, that’s preliminary I wouldn’t go too crazy on that, because that could change, but that’s indications of what I am seeing right now with the damage,” says Ron Morales with the Weather Service.

Storm damage affected more than thirty homes according to CEMA. Ron Winders home had more the four trees snap or unearthed from the winds.

“I heard the leaves start to rustle really hard and we heard this intense roar  and at that point and time I knew we were about to get hit,” says Winders.

Damage done at Winders’ home.

Only his truck was damaged.

“It’s surreal, that’s the best way I can say it. It happened so fast and you hear about these things but when you live it, you realize how fast it was, everything from the time the first tree crashed until the time I got to the downstairs bathroom was less than thirty seconds.”

The National Weather Service says the damage could be related to strong winds even more powerful than that of Hurricane Matthew.

“There are a lot of large, hardwood snapped trees which you’re getting into at least the 90 to 100 mile per hour wind speed range for that,” says Morales.

The Weather Service expects to categorize the tornado later Wednesday evening or Thursday morning at the latest.

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