Tornadoes are violent and rapidly rotating columns of air that form inside thunderstorms. They connect with the ground, via a funnel, to the cloud. Tornadoes typically last only a few minutes, but sometimes they can last for more than an hour. They can also travel short distances (0.5 miles), but some can be “on the ground” for upwards of a 100 miles.

From 1950-2015, over 450 tornadoes have been recorded in South Carolina. While there has never been an EF-5 (winds over 200 mph) tornado in the state, there have been 10 EF-4 (166 - 200 mph) and 28 EF-3 (136 - 165 mph) rated tornadoes. In March 1984, 11 tornadoes were reported as an intense low pressure system moved across the state. This is considered to be one of the biggest tornado outbreaks recorded in South Carolina.

South Carolina Tornadoes

Source: March 1984 Tornadoes in SC |

Did You Know?

The deadliest and longest tornado observed in South Carolina was the Horrell Hill Tornado on April 30, 1924. The tornado’s path extended 135 miles from Aiken County to Florence County. A modern day examination of the tornado estimates the strength to be an EF-4 (winds between 166 and 200 mph).