Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Tornado Chronicles: Wagener, SC Area Tornado of February 24, 2012

At midday (approximately 1:07 PM EST) on February 24, 2012, a tornado touched down near Wagener, SC, along the Lexington/Aiken County lines.  This tornado had a maximum path width of 100 yards, and was on the ground for approximately 8 miles before lifting near the intersection of Greens Bridge and Charles Town roads.  The National Weather Service (NWS) storm survey rated this tornado EF-2 intensity, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 130 mph.

The series of photos below show some of the damage as noted by the NWS survey team:

Radar imagery from the Columbia, SC area radar showed widespread, heavy precipitation at the time and location of the tornado touchdown (yellow circled area on the image below), which likely means the circulation was rain wrapped and may not have been visible to those in its path:

The corresponding velocity (wind speed and direction) image showed strong circulation within the same yellow circled area:

When examining the velocity data, remember that green colors indicate wind blowing toward the radar, while the red shadings indicate winds blowing away from the radar.  The radar is located just off of the upper-right hand corner of the image.

This was the strongest of 9 tornadoes that were reported on February 24th.  The other tornadoes were rated EF-0 or EF-1 intensity (click to enlarge):

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