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A major severe weather outbreak occurred across the southeastern United States on April 12-13, 2020.  Northeastern South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina experienced the rough weather during the morning hours of April 13 when a number of tornado touchdowns and many areas of thunderstorm wind damage were reported across the Carolinas.  Fortunately, no injuries or fatalities were reported across northeastern South Carolina or southeastern North Carolina during this severe weather outbreak.

NWS storm reports through 8:00 a.m. on April 13

NWS storm reports after 8:00 a.m. on April 13



Composite radar loop from the morning of April 13, 2020 showing a line of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes moving across eastern South and North Carolina

The line of thunderstorms moved across the eastern Carolinas during the early morning hours of Monday, April 13.  Severe weather began across Marlboro and Darlington counties just before 7:00 a.m., then spread quickly eastward to the coastline between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.  Above is a composite reflectivity radar loop covering the morning of April 13, 2020.  Red is associated with heavy rain, and also denotes the heavier thunderstorms where high winds and tornadoes occurred.

Specific impacts follow...


Georgetown County, SC

Damage paths from the three Georgetown County tornadoes of April 13, 2020

A powerful supercell thunderstorm moved rapidly northeastward across Georgetown county between 8 and 9 a.m., producing three individual tornado damage paths.  Two tornadoes began within minutes of each other about 10 miles west of Georgetown.  Based on observed damage both tornadoes reached EF1 intensity (90 to 100 mph wind speed) as they crossed Highway 17A.  Damage was observed to trees, power lines, homes, a business, and to vehicles. 

Damage to trees along Dove Street near Sampit from the first of three Georgetown County tornadoes.

Tornadic damage to trees along Garrison Road in the Graves community of Georgetown County. 



Sampit, SC tornado, 90 mph winds (EF1)  8:13 to 8:19 a.m.

Graves, SC tornado, 100 mph winds (EF1)  8:15 to 8:27 a.m.

Radar loop of the Georgetown county tornado affecting the Sampit and Graves communities on April 13, 2020


After these tornadoes lifted, the same supercell thunderstorm developed a new tornado on Highway 17 in North Litchfield Beach.  This tornado damaged trees and homes before moving into Huntington Beach State Park, breaking tree limbs near the beach.  The tornado moved just off the coast becoming a strong waterspout near Murrells Inlet jetty.  A remote weather station there operated by Weatherflow, Inc. recorded a peak wind gust of 114 mph at 8:47 a.m. as the tornado moved very near or over the site.  The air pressure fell by at least 6.3 millibars as the tornado approached, then rose by 7.6 millibars in the 10 minutes after the tornado passed.

North Litchfield Beach and Murrells Inlet tornado, 114 mph winds (EF2)  8:36 to 8:47 a.m.

Radar imagery showing the EF2 tornado moving from North Litchfield Beach across Huntington Beach State Park to Murrells Inlet on April 13, 2020

Radar imagery showing the supercell producing a tornado while moving from North Litchfield Beach across Huntington Beach State Park to Murrells Inlet on April 13, 2020. Note: the apparent reduction in reflectivity values as the storm reached the coast is due to severe radar beam blockage, not an actual weakening of the storm.

Graph of Wind Gusts and Barometric Pressure measured by the Weatherflow station at Murrells Inlet Jetty on April 13, 2020

Graph of wind gusts and barometric pressure measured by the Weatherflow station at Murrells Inlet Jetty on April 13, 2020.  Peak gust was measured at 114 mph at 8:47 a.m.



Pender County, NC

Tornado paths and damaging wind graphic from the April 13, 2020 severe weather event across Pender County, NC

A severe thunderstorm entered western Pender County, NC and developed four different tornadoes as it crossed the county. The first tornado touched down near the intersection of US Highway 421 and Blueberry Rd, approximately 5 miles southeast of Currie, at 9:09 AM EDT. Damage was noted to trees here and also to the northeast along Clarks Landing Rd where several structures were damaged or destroyed. This tornado crossed Highway 210, snapped four power poles and damaged the Long Creek Fire Department. It continued eastward and crossed Little Kelly Rd about 5 miles south of Burgaw. Numerous trees and a few structures were damaged, then then tornado dissipated after crossing Little Kelly Rd. Based on observed damage, peak winds were estimated to have reached 107 mph, making this tornado an EF-1.

Around 9:13 AM EDT, a second tornado formed along Clarks Landing Rd about 1/2 mile south of the first tornado. It also caused significant tree damage and mostly minor damage to homes as it crossed Highway 210. This tornado also crossed Little Kelly Rd around the same time and about 1/2 mile south of the other tornado. Numerous trees were snapped, and one home suffered mostly minor roof damage. This funnel lifted shortly after crossing Little Kelly Rd. Based on the observed damage, peak wind speeds were estimated to have reached 107 mph, also making this tornado an EF-1.

The third tornado developed at 9:19 AM about 4 miles east-northeast of St. Helena along New Rd. It snapped several trees up to 14 inches in diameter, and uplifted the front porch roof of a home. Significant tree damage occurred as the tornado moved northeast and crossed Stag Park Rd, where a large shed was destroyed. This funnel lifted as it approached the Cape Fear River northeast of Stag Air Park. Peak winds were estimated at 93 mph, making this tornado an EF-1.

Damage from a fourth tornado occurred in the Holly Shelter Game Land around 9:24 a.m. Several small trees were snapped and many limbs were broken out of pine trees along a 1 1/2 mile path. Peak winds were estimated to be 75 mph, making this tornado an EF-0.

There was also a considerable amount of straight-line wind damage, stretching from Highway 210 northeast to the Cape Fear River, which was produced by the line of severe storms that spawned these tornadoes.

Extensive damage to trees along Stag Park Road in Pender County.

Power poles were torn down by the tornado along NC Highway 210 near Scott Road. Winds were estimated to have reached 105 mph at this location.

Tree damage along US Highway 117 near Meadow Lane

The garage door was pushed in and vinyl siding was ripped off this home south of Burgaw.  Based on observed damage, wind speeds were estimated to have reached 97 mph here.

Damage occurred to fencing and trees along Heath Drive south of Burgaw.

Extensive damage to occurred to trees along Clarks Landing Road south of NC Highway 210.  Many trees were snapped off by the force of the wind, and debris from nearby structures was scattered into the edge of the forest.


Radar loop of the thunderstorm that produced a tornado in western Pender County on April 13, 2020

Summary of Pender County Tornadoes, 93-107 mph winds (EF0/EF1), 9:09 to 9:25 a.m.



Brunswick County, NC

A supercell thunderstorm approached the coast of Brunswick County, NC shortly after 9 a.m.  Radar imagery showed a well-defined hook echo and swirl of strong winds around an apparent tornadic waterspout.  The waterspout moved onshore at Oak Island at 9:32 a.m. as a tornado, producing speeds estimated to have reached 60 mph.  Damage was widespread on Oak Island due to winds from the tornado itself and from strong straight-line winds, possibly the result of the rear-flank downdraft following the tornado.

Cynthia Lane summarized reports from her friends and neighbors on the island and provided the following information to us:  A few houses have fairly significant roof damage along the ocean front.  Some siding was blown off the west side of homes and shingles were stood up.  On the southeast side of Oak Island siding was torn off a home on East Dolphin Drive.  Porch screens and tree limbs were blown down on Oak Island Drive at Southeast 21st Street.  Four trees, including a large tree, were blown down on Southeast 13th Street.  In the northeastern section of Oak Island many trees were knocked down and a car was crushed along Northeast 38th Street.  Trees were also reported down on Northeast 43rd, 45th, 46th, and 64th Streets.  At the intersection of East Holly St and Northeast 33rd Street a trampoline was into the rear window from a vehicle, breaking the glass. 

Tornado damage on West Beach Drive in Oak Island.  Video provided by Trish Terreault.

Roof damage from the tornado occurred to this home on the oceanfront of Oak Island. Photo provided by Cynthia Lane.


The strong circulation on radar continued to move inland toward St. James Plantation, however no damage has been reported in that community.  A storm survey conducted on April 17th found additional tornadic damage in Southport, 3 miles north of Yaupon Beach, where the tornado touched down again. Several trees and limbs were either snapped or twisted, and a fence was knocked down by a fallen tree.

Oak Island tornado, 60 mph wind (EF0), 9:30 to 9:32 a.m.

Southport tornado, 60 mph wind (EF0), 9:36 a.m.

Blog from meteorologist Jesse Ferrell on this tornado

Radar loop of the Oak Island tornado of April 13, 2020

Radar loop of the supercell thunderstorm that produced tornadoes in Oak Island and Southport on April 13, 2020

Debris from the Oak Island tornado sits in front of two homes along West Beach Drive in this photo from the afternoon of April 13, 2020

Debris from the Oak Island tornado sits in front of two homes along West Beach Drive in this photo from the afternoon of April 13, 2020



Columbus County, NC

A tornado developed along Soles Rd. in rural Columbus County at 8:10 a.m.  This is located about 8 1/2 miles southeast of Whiteville.  Several sheds were destroyed and debris was scattered north across Soles Rd along Tanglewood Acres Dr.  Power lines and large trees were damaged here along with roof damage to at least one home.  The tornado appears to have lifted before entering White Marsh after being on the ground for approximately 1/2 mile. 

Whiteville tornado, 110 mph wind (EF1), 8:10 to 8:12 a.m.

Radar loop of the thunderstorm that produced a tornado 8 miles southeast of Whiteville, NC on April 13, 2020

Additional information and photos are available from the Whiteville News Reporter at this link.



Marlboro County, SC

Wind speed estimates from the Wallace, SC macroburst in Marlboro County on April 13, 2020

Surveyed wind speed estimates (mph) across the Wallace area from severe storms during the morning of April 13, 2020.


Severe thunderstorms just after sunrise produced a large area of exceptional straight-line wind damage near the town of Wallace in Marlboro County, SC.  Based on damage observed during a storm survey on April 14, wind speeds up to 110 mph are estimated to have occurred along multiple paths within an area 4 to 5 miles long and 2 to 3 miles wide.  Roofs were completely blown off of several homes and a mobile home was flipped.  Hundred of trees were snapped or uprooted in areas east and northeast of Wallace.

Multiple trees were blown down across a road and home near Wallace, SC. Photo courtesy of Marlboro County Sheriffs Office.

The roof was ripped off a mobile home and shingle damage occurred to an adjacent house. Photo courtesy of Marlboro County Sheriffs Office.

Extensive roof damage occurred to this home and nearby trees near Wallace, SC. Photo courtesy of Marlboro County Sherffs Office.

More damage to the roofs of homes and to trees near Wallace, SC. Photo courtesy of Marlboro County Sheriffs Office

A large number of trees were snapped off or uprooted in this one area. Photo courtesy of Marlboro County Sheriffs Office.


Radar loop showing a wide area of damaging winds during a severe thunderstorm on April 13, 2020 across northern Marlboro County, SC

Wallace Microbursts, 110 mph wind, 6:58 a.m. to 7:10 a.m.



Page Author: Tim Armstrong
Last Updated: April 21, 2020