PICKENS COUNTY — Norris resident Danielle Harris was just hanging out on her couch watching TV with her dog when her cell phone alerted her to a tornado warning and warned her to take cover around 4:30 p.m. Oct. 8.
“I was like, yeah right, whatever — and I went back to watching Law and Order,” she told The Sentinel-Progress on Monday. “But then I started hearing the wind so I thought, maybe I should check this out.”
Harris said she looked out the window and quickly realized she needed to take the alert’s warning seriously.
“I grabbed my phone and my dog and ran for the bathroom because it’s the only room I have that doesn’t have a window.”
When the winds passed, Harris went outside to survey the damage.
“The first thing I noticed was my porch furniture was in my neighbor’s yard,” she said. “You can see the broken rocking chairs out by the road now. There was a bench too but someone came and picked it up.”
Harris’ gutter drains were battered and dent from debris and she lost several patches of shingles off her roof as well.
“There’s some downed tree branches and stuff, but I got off lucky,” she said.
Across the street, a massive tree was split in half narrowly missing the landowner’s home and down the road was block after block of downed power lines and telephone poles.
“When that tree split, the sound was just crazy — I still feel out of place,” she said. “I mean, this is Norris — nothing ever happens here!”
The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg confirmed on Monday an EF2 tornado touched down with estimated wind speeds reaching 130 mph.
“The path is a combination of a 3-mile long nearly continuous track and three separate brief touchdowns,” read a NWS release. “The initial tornado touchdown occurred at Maxey Drive in Norris, where several trees were snapped or uprooted and at least one home sustained roof damage.”
NWS states the tornado continued toward Robinson Bridge Road where one brick home had front-wall and total-roof failure and two mobile homes were completely destroyed.
“The nearly continuous track ended near Liberty Highway and Tammy Drive where multiple trees were snapped or uprooted and at least one outbuilding was destroyed. Also, mobile homes sustained roof and underpinning damage. The width of the tornado was approximately 200-300 yards throughout the nearly continuous path.”
But the storm wasn’t finished quite yet.
Thereafter, three additional brief touchdowns occurred on Belle Shoals Road, Allgood Bridge Road and Shady Grove Roads respectively.
The damage at each touchdown was rated EF0 or EF1 and mostly consisted of snapped and uprooted trees, the agency stated.
In all, the NWS stated a total of 20 homes, both stick-built and mobile, sustained structural damage with five homes experiencing major damage.
In addition, several outbuildings and sheds were damaged or destroyed and a communications tower was also damaged.
No injuries or fatalities were reported.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.