Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Do you remember the 1989 tornadoes?

The year 1989 is memorable in the Carolinas because of Hurricane Hugo, which roared ashore near Charleston on Sept. 22 of that year and cut a path of destruction all the way into the Charlotte region.

But there was another major weather event that year -- one of the worst tornado outbreaks in Carolinas history.

It didn't rival the March 1983 tornadoes that ripped a path across South Carolina and the eastern portion of North Carolina. But the tornado outbreak of May 5, 1989, caused deaths and millions of dollars' worth of destruction. And the twisters impacted the Charlotte region.

Now the National Weather Service's office in Greer, S.C., is looking for people who have memories of those storms, which hit nearly 25 years ago. Specifically, they'd like to communicate with those who were affected. Those memories will be part of the Weather Service's observance this spring of Severe Weather Awareness Week.

The first tornado struck near Chesnee, S.C. Two people were killed there.

A tornado, perhaps from the same thunderstorm, then touched down near Lawndale in northern Cleveland County. That F4 twister, the second-strongest classification of tornado, stayed on the ground through the Vale area of western Lincoln County and into the Propst community in Catawba County. The tornado killed four people, injured 53, and caused millions of dollars' damage.

The second twister came from a different storm. It touched down in the early evening hours near Wesley Chapel in Union County. A young girl was killed, and the F4 tornado tore a path through Indian Trail, crossed U.S. 74 near a flea market, and then ripped through Unionville and Fairview.  There were six injuries and more than $8 million in damage.

A weaker tornado struck Anson and Stanly counties a short time later, and there also was an F3 twister in Winston-Salem that day.

The Weather Service's office in Greer is especially interested in the Cleveland-Lincoln-Catawba twister and the Union County tornado.

If you want to contribute to the Weather Service's report, contact meteorologist Justin Lane at justin.lane@noaa.gov.

17 comments:

Thad Matta Itzos said...

Any possibility of a snownado this weekend?

Fellow Weather Nerd said...

Steve, If you get anyone that does remember this could you follow up with all of us? I think there are more weather nerds like us that are out there than most will admit. I'd love to hear the stories.

Anonymous said...

Can you also find about about that tornado that went through Catawba County in summer of 1997?

Archiguy said...

I remember seeing the aftermath of that F-4 that crossed U.S. 74, not that far out of town, and flattened those flea market structures on the north side of the road. You could see the its path on the south side by the downed trees - it was a lot wider path of destruction than I expected. That told you it was a big one.

Hope that's the closest I ever get to one.

Don Benfield said...

I was living in Vale at the time but was in Newton when the Tornadoes ripped through there. I got caught in the tail end of the storms while I was driving home. My ex-wife and her son and to crawl on hands and knees (the winds were so strong they couldn't stand up) to make it to the house next door and the neighbor's basement shelter.

Anonymous said...

The billboard over near that bridge was bent back around a huge oak tree. I saw it. So much pieces of woods all over the place!

Anonymous said...

Or the global cooling scare on the cover of Newsweek in the 1970s.

Anonymous said...

Y A W N ......Y A W N....

Anonymous said...

Slow news week....harking back to a tornado nearly 25 years ago.....YAWN...

Anonymous said...

Snore...snore....

Anonymous said...

Zzzzzz....snore......zzzzzz.....

Katherine Nunn said...

I'm glad that NWS GSP is choosing to commemorate this outbreak, because alough IMO it's one of the most interesting tornado events we've had in NC, it doesn't get talked about as much as some others, like the Raleigh tornado of 1988.

I was only very young at the time of the '89 storms, but do recall news reports of the tornado that hit Durham (next town over from where I grew up), and recently found a short video that someone took of that tornado. It can be found on YouTube. Also interesting is that fact that Forsyth County was struck by three separate tornadoes, including one that hit Smith-Reynolds Airport!

Anonymous said...

YAWN...

Grover N. Hardwonger said...

Say, I was an old man when this happened. I was asleep at the time, and have no memory of the event. I am now creeping up on 102, and cannot even remember what month it is. Anyway, have a nice Halloween this week. Golly-gee how time flies.

Anonymous said...

I know you Grover. You aint no 102. You done be closer to 107. You ol foo.

Hank said...

Hey Grover, scram! Beat it! Get off this blog... coot.

Unknown said...

YouTube F4 Tornado Slams Cleveland County NC on May 5, 1989