NWS confirms EF-1 tornado slammed York County farm, killing 4,000 turkeys

CLOVER, S.C. — The National Weather Service confirmed on Wednesday that damage from Monday’s storms in central York County was from an EF-1 tornado that tore through the area.

Officials said the tornado had winds of about 100 to 110 mph and it destroyed some barns and uprooted trees in its path.

The tornado had peak winds of about 115 mph, it traveled just under a half mile and the damage path was about 70-yards wide.

Survey crews said the most significant damage was found at a farm in western York County along Highway 55, east of Canaan Church Road.

They said the tornado touched down in an open field and moved through a group of buildings, destroying one and damaging two other beyond the point of repair. Two other buildings lost metal roof panels and roof debris was seen down the path of the tornado.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Trisha Palmer said one clear way to tell it was a tornado was finding damage and debris on the backside of buildings, opposite of where the storm came from.

“Feathers were tossed on the other side of the buildings,” Palmer said. “You see that only with rotation, whereas with straight line winds everything is blown out and away.”

Channel 9′s South Carolina bureau reporter Greg Suskin joined the National Weather Service crew as they surveyed damage at the turkey farm.

Family members told Channel 9 they lost nine outbuildings in the storm and all of the buildings on the property, except their home, had some damage.

They also said 4,000 turkeys were killed when the roof of one of the buildings was ripped off during the storm. They have around 50,000 turkeys living on the property.

Robby Glenn described the damage to his farm like a “bomb blast.”

“Looked out of my window and that’s when I saw the turkey barns being hit and basically just like they were exploded,” Glenn said. “First one got hit and just tin everywhere. Second one got hit and it looked like all the debris was heading straight toward my home.”

The family told Channel 9 they have been through this before -- about a decade ago, a tornado damaged their house.

The family didn’t have insurance on the turkey houses, and they don’t plan to rebuild. Instead, they will likely wind down the farming businesses after three generations have run it since the 1940s.

No injuries were reported during Monday’s storm.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.