The National Weather Service confirmed a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” touched down about 7 miles southwest of Williston, SC around 5:40AM Monday morning.
Massive pine trees are snapped in half, buildings are leveled and vehicles tossed around after a large tornado ripped through the Tinker Creek Road area off Highway 278 seven miles outside of Williston, South Carolina early Monday morning.
One family arrived at their farm to find their home and two large sheds destroyed, and a 100-foot tall concrete and re bar enforced silo nowhere to be found. That family was not home as the tornado came through, but their next door neighbor on Tinker Creek Road was home.
Ann Thompson was on the phone with her son when the tornado made its way to her house.
“Last night we seen the warning come on about the tornado, so I gave her a call,” said Benjamin Thompson. “And she was still in bed, and she got up and about three minutes later, she thought it was a truck,” added Thompson. “I hope that’s a truck coming, she said, and next thing you know, she’s like no, I see it. And she sees the tornado coming this way. And in a matter of minutes, next thing I know, you hear glass shattering,” said Thompson.
It was a terrifying experience for him to be on the other end of the phone. “And I’m just telling her to get to the hallway. Get somewhere safe. And luckily, she managed to get safe,” he said.
“Yes sir,” said Thompson when asked if his mother was OK.
“It’s devastating. It’s literally devastating seeing all the old trees just ripped down. And seeing all the old shops and barns just disappear, just flattened,” said Thompson when describing the damage.
The 100-foot silo on the neighbor’s property he is used to seeing is now scattered among the debris.
“It’s weird, it’s just like it vanished, it’s gone,” said Thompson. “We see the debris along the wood line, but where could a 100-foot silo go,” he wondered.
Local emergency and South Carolina Department of Transportation crews were in the area cleaning up the debris. And there is more help on the way, even for those who may not have insurance.
Organizations like the South Carolina chapter of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief are ready to bring in clean-up crews for those who need help. Rick Burkey works with the organization and was surveying damage in the Tinker Creek Road area.
“We bring in chainsaw crews, and help and hope to people as they go through this time,” said Burkey.
“We prioritize, the elderly, the disabled, folks that we know can’t afford to have a tree company or somebody like that come in and do the work,” he added. The people who really need the help, those are the ones that we want to bring the hope to,” he added.
He has instructions for those looking for help. “At this point, they could go online and look for us and request help there,” he said. “And then we would send someone like me to actually meet the people and collect the information,” he said.