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Downed trees block a driveway after Monday's EF2 tornado blew through Burke County.


The National Weather Service’s Greenville-Spartanburg office released preliminary reports late Wednesday and Thursday morning confirming at least six tornadoes slammed the Carolinas on Monday afternoon.

Monday’s storms came just 15 days after a rash of tornadoes ripped through the Carolinas, including an EF1 tornado in the Connelly Springs area.

The severe thunderstorm that hit Burke County that afternoon was confirmed to have produced an EF2 tornado that touched down in the extreme eastern end of the county before impacting Catawba, Caldwell and Alexander counties, according to the weather service. Despite the storm’s strength, no injuries or fatalities were reported in the NWS’ findings.

The tornado lasted approximately from 4:35-5 p.m. It had an estimated maximum wind speed of 125 mph. Its maximum path width was nearly ¾ of a mile and its path length was 22.83 miles.

The tornado touched down 1 mile north-northwest of Long View very near to the Hickory Regional Airport, the storm summary said. There, it destroyed a hangar and planes inside. According to the report, the tornado initially was very narrow, with damage confined to the hangar at the airport.

The storm then continued in a northeastern path, downing trees in Winkler Park before straddling the Caldwell-Catawba counties line. There, it weakened to an EF1 storm but widened to its maximum path width of about 1,600 yards, with damage reported on either side of Lake Hickory in both counties. The NWS reported the storm caused significant tree damage in the area, with hundreds downed, including on houses, cars and other structures.

According to the report, the tornado then turned left, narrowed and straddled the Alexander-Caldwell counties line, causing more tree damage and some structural damage from falling trees. Then, the storm shifted back northeast and weakened. It lifted just south of the Alexander-Wilkes counties line near N.C. Highway 16.

The weather service also reported an EF1 tornado in Cleveland, Lincoln, Catawba and Burke counties Monday afternoon. That storm lasted from about 4:08-4:25 p.m. with a maximum wind speed estimated at 100 mph. Its maximum path width was 100 yards and it had a path length of 12.81 miles. No injuries or fatalities were reported from the storm.

According to the NWS, that tornado touched down in Lawndale, where structural damage occurred as uprooted and snapped trees fell on houses. The storm traveled northeast from there with more downed trees and structural damage along the way, particularly in Belwood due to trees falling on homes. The summary said the tornado then passed through extreme northwest Lincoln County and into southwest Catawba County.

There, more trees were downed before the storm lifted. The NWS said more straight-line wind damage continued in western Catawba and eastern Burke counties with hundreds more trees downed.

An EF1 tornado also was confirmed in Rutherford and Cleveland counties Monday afternoon. The storm lasted approximately from 3:40-4:02 p.m. It had a maximum estimated wind speed of 100 mph. Its maximum path width was 100 yards and its path length was 19.23 miles, according to the weather service. No injuries or fatalities were reported.

The weather service said the tornado began along State Line Road in extreme southeast Rutherford County, traveling northeast and uprooting and snapping trees. According to the summary, structural damage occurred in Cliffside, where windows were blown out of a school building and several trees fell on structures. The tornado continued along the same path and significantly damaged a warehouse building just west of Mooresboro.

There, a camper was overturned and a man inside was thrown 15-20 yards, but he was unharmed, according to the NWS. The tornado continued northeast with sporadic uprooted and snapped trees until it reached Polkville where the weather service reported additional structural damage, mainly from trees falling on houses. The tornado lifted just east of Polkville, per the report.

An EF2 tornado that started in Cherokee County, South Carolina, reached into extreme southern Cleveland County, the NWS confirmed. That storm lasted from 3:36-3:42 p.m., approximately, and had an estimated maximum wind speed of 120 mph. It had a maximum path width of 150 yards and a path length of 4.96 miles, dissipating just inside North Carolina. No injuries or fatalities were reported. The storm mostly caused tree and power line damage until it removed the roofs of two homes near the intersection of Fairview Road and S.C. Highway 11. The tornado also slide a frame home off its foundation on West Diesel Drive in Gaffney, virtually destroying the home, the NWS said.

The NWS also confirmed an EF2 tornado in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. That storm lasted approximately from 3:12-3:18 p.m. with an estimated maximum wind speed of 120 mph. It had a maximum path width of 350 yards and a path length of 3.05 miles. One injury was reported when a man sought shelter in a glass booth under a metal awning at a business near Garrett Road and Spring Street in Spartanburg. He was hospitalized with burst ear drums due to the extreme change in air pressure, according to the summary. Multiple warehouse structures were damaged with roofs removed and exterior walls collapsed. Trailers and cars were flipped and tree damage was reported.

A separate EF1 tornado was reported in Spartanburg County from 2:52-3:10 p.m. with an estimated maximum wind speed of 95 mph, a maximum path width of 100 yards and a path length of 13.43 miles, according to the NWS. No injuries or fatalities were reported. Structural damage was reported to roofs, gutters and siding, and snapped and uprooted trees were reported.

Justin Epley can be reached at or 828-432-8943.

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