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Strong wind event damages homes, displaces several people between Sharpes Hill and Pelion

Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) – A strong wind event that swept through a portion of Lexington County Thursday afternoon damaged a mobile home while two people were sheltering inside. According to Harrison Cahill, spokesman for Lexington County, the two were not injured, although the home was damaged to the point that they probably won't be able to stay in it until repairs are made. The American Red Cross had been notified by the county and was assisting the family. The weather event struck the area just before 4:00 p.m.

Lexington County’s 911 center dispatched the event as a possible tornado and sent fire, EMS, and deputies rushing to the area of 200 Minnie Fallaw Road between Sharpe’s Hill and Pelion. Originally, the emergency units flooded the area as did special teams trained in rescue operations like building collapse. They carry rams, boards, and other shoring material that can assist in freeing trapped people from homes that may be destroyed during storms or other events. Once it was realized that only a few homes had been damaged and no one was trapped, much of the equipment was released to return to quarters.

According to Christopher Jackson, a weather expert in the Lexington area followed by tens of thousands on social media, this was what’s known as, “straight line winds associated with a broken QLCS.” The meteorology program at Iowa State University explains that QLCS, or Quasi-linear convective system, is a common occurrence in the spring and summer months and with them come the risk of them producing mesovorticies, or small scale rotational features found in convective storms. The Iowa State paper went further by explaining that these weather events are, “small and compact and can cause isolated and concentrated areas of damage from high winds and in some cases can produce weak tornadoes.”

Jackson said yesterday afternoon that he had looked at the radar data from Thursday and what he had seen didn’t support a tornado. He said he felt sure that the weather the area near Minnie Fallaw had experienced was due to straight line winds which can and do cause property damage. Although the NWS has the final say on whether an event was a tornado or not, most believe that Jackson’s knowledge will prove he was correct, this wasn’t a tornado.

The mobile-home near 200 Minnie Fallaw Road had an addition added on to its rear that was ripped off according to Cahill. A follower of The Ledger said that she owns a house off Victor Road and a portion of her roof was ripped off by the high-winds about 3:50 p.m. Thursday. She said that the roof was only two years old at the time of the storm.

As we get further into the spring, expect more storms of this type than we normally experience. They build throughout the day and then break in the afternoons with strong rains, high winds, and even hail. This is the time of the year to be sure you are prepared for storms. The SC Emergency Management Division has an excellent page on getting prepared for these and other types of emergencies that can be found by clicking HERE.

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