On Sunday the unthinkable happened in Simpsonville for Ryan Strahs – a tornado struck his home for the second time in just over two years.
"You couldn’t imagine it," Strahs said. "You couldn’t imagine getting hit twice."
Back in November 2016 he lost the roof on his Richardson Street townhome, while Sunday’s storm broke a window, lifted the front awning on his porch and knocked his fence over. Strahs guesses that the path this time was only 50 yards from where it came through last time.
The fact that the two storms took such similar paths through Simpsonville was "just bad luck," said meteorologist Lauren Carroll, of the National Weather Service’s Greer office at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.
Severe thunderstorms produced the tornado, which packed 100 mph winds, according to the NWS. This storm was more "intermittent" than the 2016 one, which was continuous and lasted longer, Carroll said.
Sunday’s storm still caused plenty of damage where it did touch down though – uprooted trees, downed power lines and mangled fences were among the wind-whipped destruction left behind by the storm, leaving residents in its path rattled by the experience.
It sounded like a train and then a "boom" when it hit, Linda Staton said.
“It scared me to death I tell ya," she said, sitting on the front porch of her home of 42 years on Tebblewood Lane, as the weather returned to clear skies Tuesday. “I went and hid in the linen closet."
On East Curtis Street, one large tree even came down on the middle of Donna Robertson and Darlene Strickland’s home, its limbs puncturing the roof and coming feet from Robertson’s bed.
A tree lies across the roof of Donna Robertson and Darlene Strickland’s home in Simpsonville after a tornado ripped through the area on Sunday night.
Thankfully, she wasn’t in the room at the time and she and Strickland managed to take shelter in the bathtub while the storm came through, she said.
There’s no telling though when, or if, they’ll be able to move back in, she said. It will be at least 46 days in a hotel, Robertson said. Still, she’s just glad they’re alive.
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Across town in the Neely Forest neighborhood, several neighbors were waiting for insurance claims adjusters to come through to assess the damage.
The windows shattered at Dan Squirewell’s home of 26 years on Berlander Court, which also suffered water damage and got a stick lodged in the side of its chimney from the force of the winds during the storm.
Dan Squirewell talks about damage caused by a tornado that came through Simpsonville on Sunday night while walking his property two days later on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
He said he felt it follow a similar path to the 2016 tornado, but this one felt like it was 10 times stronger.
“I ain’t never experienced nothing like this before," Squirewell said.
The tornado, which was classified as an EF1, reached speeds of 100 mph and reached a maximum width of 100 yards from State 14 to Poinsetta Drive to East Curtis Street.
No tornado warning got sent out before the storm hit by the NWS because it spun up between the 90-second intervals at which the radar scans, Carroll said.
All told, clean up could take up to a month, according to the city of Simpsonville.
The Greenville County Emergency Management Division has no estimate on how many dollars worth of damage the storm cause or how many buildings it hit, planning coordinator Jessica Stumpf said.
It did not cause enough damage to warrant applying for federal or state aid to make repairs, she said.
“There’s a certain threshold that has to be hit before FEMA would consider coming in and taking a look at it and we’re nowhere near that limit," Stumpf said.
Similar weather is projected Friday in the Greenville area, as a severe thunderstorm system is forecast to hit the area around midday, Carroll said. Just like on Sunday, tornadoes will possible in the area.
"The environment is not dissimilar," Carroll said.
Greenville News reporter Haley Walters contributed.
You can connect with reporter Gabe Cavallaro on Twitter @gabe_cavallaro or facebook.com/cavallarogabe or email him at email@example.com.