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July 30, 2014

Tornado not cause of storm damage in Conway

A microburst, not a tornado, is to blame for storm damage Monday in Conway that included a roof blown off of a home and a tree crashing into another.

A microburst, not a tornado, is to blame for storm damage Monday in Conway that included a roof blown off of a home and a tree crashing into another.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C. sent two people to the Conway area to investigate what caused the damage.

A preliminary report released by the NWS Tuesday identified a microburst – with winds estimated to have reached 75 mph – that started between Juniper Bay Road and Four Mile Road as the culprit for the “scattered tree damage.”

A microburst, according to the NWS, is a convective downdraft with an affected outflow area less than 2.5 miles wide with peak winds that last less than five minutes. The winds were straight-line and did not have rotation, which eliminated a tornado as the cause.

Cheri Sweeney lives on the 3900 block of Long Avenue Extension and said none of her neighbors had damage, but said it looked like an army had stomped through her yard leading her to believe a tornado came through.

“If you saw our yard, you’d be shocked,” she said.

Sweeney said she hasn’t seen damage this bad during past hurricanes and expects cleanup the mess up to take as long as five days. One tree split, a limb from another landed mostly vertical “like if you threw a spear into the grown,” she said. There was thunder and hail too, but she said she didn’t see any lightning.

The NWS said a trailer park along Sleepy Hollow Lane suffered primarily minor damage to a couple of structures with a tree that uprooted and fell on a home. Several other trees were uprooted, the investigators noted, and strong winds likely were what damaged a mobile home along Singing Pine Road which had it’s roof completely lifted.

The microburst weakened as it moved toward the Dunn Short Cut Road area, leaving several downed limbs and uprooted trees. The damage was worsened by the already “very saturated” ground from heavy rains in the last week. The weaker winds still involved gusts up to 60 mph, according to the NWS said.

There were six injuries, all inside a home at 1901 Lundy Avenue where a tree fell on a roof. Six people inside the home, ages 19, 11, 10, 4, and two 15 year olds, received minor injuries, said Demonche Horry, the eldest of those inside the home when the tree fell.

The also thunderstorm knocked out power to as many as 2,000 customers, according to Santee Cooper.

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