Tornadoes: How common are they in the Lowcountry? - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Tornadoes: How common are they in the Lowcountry?

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Courtesy: NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center Courtesy: NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center

By Sonya Stevens

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Here in the Lowcountry we have to deal with all kinds of weather including heat, humidity, hurricanes, and thunderstorms; but how often do we get tornadoes?

While they aren't as common as they are in Tornado Alley, they do touch down from time to time here in the Palmetto State.

"As far as memorable tornadoes in the Lowcountry, you don't have to go back very far in the past," said Ron Morales, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the Charleston National Weather Service Office. "Mother's Day of 2008 was a very active day. The strongest tornadoes included an EF2 tornado on John's Island and an EF4 tornado in Darien, Ga., and an EF3 in Tattnall County, Ga."

Breaking it down county by county, some of the local counties ranked among the top ten in the state when numbers were crunched from 1981 to 2010 by NOAA.

Here is the rundown:
1. Orangeburg
2. Berkeley
4. Charleston
10. Beaufort
19. Colleton
32. Dorchester
34. Georgetown
38. Williamsburg

Some tornadoes are spun up by tropical systems, but they are usually weaker ranging from EF0 to EF2.

"The most recent local example of this was with the remnants of Hurricane Frances in 2004," said Morales. "During a two-day period, at least 20 tornadoes were confirmed for our entire forecast area, 13 tornadoes in our South Carolina forecast area, and 7 in Georgia."

But tornadoes have occurred in all 50 states.

According to data from the Storm Prediction Center, the top ten counties that got hit by more tornadoes every year, at least from 1981 to 2010, were in Colorado, Florida, and Texas.

For more information on some of the recent weather events in the Lowcountry, click here.

  • Sonya Stevens

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