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Tornado Devastates South Carolina Neighborhood

Absolutely terrifying.

These two words are being used by residents of Johns Island, South Carolina to describe the storm that damaged homes and businesses in one unlucky neighborhood earlier this morning.

The vortex touched down and rolled through the community at around 1 a.m., leaving a trail of destruction spanning 7 miles, according to the National Weather Service.

Homes were ripped apart and trees were blown over by winds of up to 130 mph, but incredibly no deaths or injuries were reported.

One resident in the community that suffered a direct hit by the tornado described what the experience was like.  The man, John Bercik, said that he was woke up in the middle of the night from the sound of heavy rain, but really became alarmed when the winds began to howl.

He told WISTV that he heard Tornado Warning alerts on the phone and then suddenly there was a loud roar.  “It was absolutely terrifying,” he said.  “It was a very intense moment.”

Other residents in the area were also alerted of the tornado in advance by meteorologists who sent cellphone alerts warning of the imminent danger.  Those who received the alert were given up to twenty minutes to get to safety before the tornado hit.

The advanced warnings no doubt played a role in the lack of injuries and fatalities.

Damage pictures and videos have been uploaded to social media networks, including this aerial view of Johns Island.

The Associated Press reports that Bercik’s house was the most heavily damaged in the community.  Bercik said that he needed an umbrella just to look for his cellphone in his living room because his roof was gone.

More fortunate neighbors only had to deal with missing shingles from their roofs and downed trees in their yards.

Residents from neighboring communities have been coming together to help clean up the damaged areas.  A Chick Fil-A from neighboring James Island and a Waffle House from Johns Island have been donating meals to the victims.  The American Red Cross has also been assisting in the recovery efforts, supplying food and water to the affected.

While not a regular occurrence, tornadoes have hit the Charleston suburbs before. On June 30, 2008, the National Weather Service determined an EF0 tornado had hit the same area, though it was substantially weaker and did minimal damage.

Historically, one of the worst tornado outbreaks hit the area on September 29, 1938, where five tornadoes spawned by a tropical depression “ravaged” nearby James Island, Sullivan Island, and parts of downtown Charleston, according to the National Weather Service.  Two of the tornadoes were ranked F2, and three were ranked F1.

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