Deadly Tornadoes Rip Through South Carolina - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/16/07

Deadly Tornadoes Rip Through South Carolina

Story, video and pictures provided By WIS TV Raycom Media.

SUMTER COUNTY (WIS) - Fourteen miles, 300 yards and 140 mph winds - that's the size of the F3 tornado that killed a woman in Sumter.

A set of steps in Sumter used to lead to a mobile home, but that mobile home is now several yards away in pieces. There's also a truck flipped on its side and much more. The man who lived at the mobile home was taken to the hospital.

A 53-year-old woman living at what used to be a mobile home on Highway 76 in Sumter was killed by the tornado. The coroner says her name is Janie Gregg.
    
Her boyfriend Earl Moses was also home. The sheriff says he's in critical condition.
    
A friend and neighbor saw what tore their trailer apart.

"I heard something that sounded like a train coming. I looked out the window and saw the tornado. I put my grand baby and wife in the bathtub. I walked out back door and saw trailer explode. It went up in the air and exploded," said resident Terry Anderson.

Sumter County Deputy Michael McCoy found himself using his training to save his family.

"I was sleeping in my bedroom and heard a noise I can't describe. I grabbed my wife and son and we just went to the laundry room," said McCoy.

The roof on McCoy's home was ripped off. His vehicles including his patrol car were damaged. He also found his boat in the neighbor's front yard.

"It's going to get back to the way it was. The community is tight, and we're going to pull it together. We'll make it," says McCoy.

One woman was getting ready for church when the storm ripped through her home.

The church members came to her, turning their Sunday sermon into a real-life lesson about help and hope.

The National Weather Service says the area off Highway 76 was the hardest-hit area. But the people there are optimistic and already talking about rebuilding.

Before it touched down along Highway 76, the same tornado may have been what wreaked havoc in another part of Sumter County.

A tree crashed down on a house on Pinewood Drive. Just down the street, a deck was ripped off and crashed into a van.

"Just a loud rumble. Not really a train sound, but just a loud rumble. So we looked out the window and you could see debris twisting and flying everywhere," said witness Tami Bryan.

It was one of three confirmed tornadoes in the central part of the state and two other possible twisters along the coast that were spawned by a line of thunderstorms that brought heavy rains and high winds to the East Coast.

Thousands lost power in the lower part of the state and a PGA tournament on Hilton Head Island was suspended because of high winds.

Tornadoes also were confirmed in Lee and Orangeburg counties. Officials will investigate damage and a funnel-cloud sighting in Colleton County.

The emergency shelter in Sumter County has been closed. That's according to the Red Cross. Officials say all of the people affected by the storms have other places to stay.

Later Monday morning, though, the Red Cross will open a service center to help people in the Pinewood area.

The center will open at 10am at the Family Life Center, next to Enon Baptist Church, at 3805 Starks Ferry Road in Sumter.

Reported by Maggie Alexander

updated by Logan Smith

Copyright 2007 Raycom Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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