National Weather Service confirms damage in Effingham Co. is from EF-1 tornado

Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 10:55 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2023 at 5:21 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The National Weather Service confirmed storm damage in Effingham County is from an EF-1 tornado.

The NWS sent a survey crew to the Guyton area after severe weather Wednesday night.

Guyton residents said this is the worst storm they’ve ever seen in the area.

The roaring of chainsaws echoes through many Effingham County neighborhoods as crews work to clear trees from roofs and yards.

“It looks like a warzone because it was,” Guyton resident Gail Boycks said.

Strong storms brought damaging winds, blinding rain and a tornado to the area.

“My son came out he said, ‘Daddy do you hear that?’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘the wind’, and by the time we made it to the door it was blowing,” Guyton resident William Duncan said.

A home in the Forest Hill neighborhood was damaged after a tree fell on top of it. Luckily, no one was injured.

“I just didn’t realize it was so bad outside until I came outside after it was over,” Guyton resident Wanda Whipple said.

Down the road, in the Abbey Lane neighborhood, Boycks is working to clean up the mess the storm left behind.

“We lost numerous trees, a shed, a gazebo, our grill,” Boycks said.

Crews are working to restore power to thousands as residents now focus on cleaning up.

“I’ve lived here for about six years now and out of all the storms, that one was the worst that I’ve seen,” Duncan said.

River Ingram, 9, and her family are dealing with damage. Wind peeled half the roof of her home and now the inside is nearly ruined.

“I was really sad because I really liked this house and now, we have to get a new one,” Ingram said.

Just up the road, Gretchen Roberson is also reeling with the cleanup ahead.

“You see our fence is lost. All around, trees have fallen on it or it’s been taken out,” Roberson said.

Roberson said she was home by herself around 7:45 p.m. when she found out a possible tornado was headed her way.

“So, I hid in a small hallway we have in the house, and it wasn’t but about five minutes later that everything just broke loose,” she said.

The impact was felt in Rincon, as well. Brian Cullum was in his home when the storm came through around 7:30 p.m. While they have no damage inside, branches sit on top of their home.

“I’m not going to lie. It shook the entire house. Everybody else started to scream,” Cullum said.

LINK >>> Residents can sign up for Effingham County’s new Wireless Emergency Notification System

“We’ve had crews out within the county. Public works has been out removing debris from the roadway and a lot of the citizens are out repairing damage to their property and working together, coming together to really clean up,” said Capt. Hannah Jenkins, with Effingham Emergency Management.

Capt. Jenkins said they’ve had crews removing debris and accessing damage after the storm.

However, she says when the storm was rolling through several residents weren’t in safe areas.

“It became very dangerous for several of our crews last night as they were working while people were trying to get out and see how much damage there was,” she said.

WTOC has heard some complaints that people didn’t hear a warning siren in Rincon. 911 director Jay Spinks confirmed it did not go off because of an oversight caused by the overwhelming amount of emergency calls they were getting.

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