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Tornado strikes 30 structures along U.S. Highway 17 North

By Staff
Damage estimated at $250,000
By CHRISTINA HALE
Staff Writer
A small tornado that “hopped and skipped for about a mile” Wednesday night along U.S. Highway 17 north of Washington damaged 13 homes and two churches, Beaufort County Emergency Manager John Pack said Thursday.
“It was over in less than 10 seconds,” Steven Gorham said.
Thirty structures were affected by the tornado, which came through around 7 p.m. Wednesday, Pack said. He estimated the damage at $250,000.
A representative with the National Weather Service surveyed the damage and confirmed Thursday that it was caused by a tornado with 80 to 90 mph winds, Pack said.
Out of the 30 structures, two homes sustained major damage. “The roof was peeled back off a two-story farmhouse and rain soaked the inside of the kitchen,” Pack said.
A resident that suffered the greatest personal loss owned a mobile-home park in the area, but had only his own mobile home insured. The other trailers were not occupied, Pack said.
That trailer was not tied down. Pack said the ones that were tied down received only minor damage.
A truck on the resident’s property was “crushed by debris from his front porch,” Pack said.
On Griffin Road, a tobacco barn was moved about 2 feet off its foundation. Pack said two other farming structures on the same property had major damage as well.
Following the storm, the highway was closed to traffic for less than two hours, Pack said. Workers with the state Department of Transportation worked Wednesday night and Thursday to remove trees. There were multiple outages, but the City of Washington Electric Utilities had power restored by 9 a.m.