Tuesday tornado catches island residents by surprise - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tuesday tornado catches island residents by surprise

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CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Many home owners said a tornado warning and subsequent tornado came as a surprise.

Residents on Walthour Road don't remember the last tornado that hit their area outside of a hurricane. If Hurricane Matthew taught them anything though, it's that they can clean up.

Curious onlookers were eager to catch a glimpse of the damage left behind by an EF-1 tornado.

Those living out here know what the next couple of days will be like.

"Bending over a lot. Picking up branches. Calling insurance agents, and roof companies and just getting back to where we're comfortable,” said Wilmington Island resident Lex Bailey.

The tornado hit a neighborhood that caught a lot of Hurricane Matthew's force. They were expecting it then. Tuesday was a different story.

"I looked out the back door and saw one palm frond in the backyard and I thought, 'wasn't much to that.' Then I looked this direction and the entire yard was, we had 15 trees destroyed,” said Robert Benton, a lifelong island resident.

"We've been here ten years and nothing. Hurricane Matthew was the first big thing for us,” said Rebecca Ellington.

An insurance agent told Ellington she hasn't had a tornado claim in the area since 2008.

"Why did we have to be in this one little zone where it happened is kind of what I'm thinking,” said Bailey.

No one got injured in the tornado, but property didn't fare so well. Several homes and cars got crushed by fallen trees.

"We're all okay. It was a storm and thankfully there were no fatalities, and our front yard is clean. Our friends showed up and helped us with that. Tomorrow we'll tackle the backyard,” said Ellington.

"It's stuff. Nobody got hurt. We'll be fine. We can fix it,” said Bailey.

How long that will take is anyone's guess. After Hurricane Matthew and this tornado, those living on Wilmington Island hope to stay out of Mother Nature's path for a long time. 

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