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'Thought the whole house was gonna go': York County homes damaged in severe storm

Lake Wylie residents begin fixing property damage caused by Sunday's vicious storm

Lake Wylie residents describe the damage done to their property after Sunday's storm rolled through Lake Wylie. It is still being determined whether the storm was a tornado.
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Lake Wylie residents describe the damage done to their property after Sunday's storm rolled through Lake Wylie. It is still being determined whether the storm was a tornado.

At least 10 homes were damaged near Lake Wylie in Sunday's storm, and officials are working to determine if a tornado hit..

No injuries were reported in the Timberlake neighborhood off S.C. 55, west of S.C. 49. Damage ranged from extensive roof damage on some homes to shingles torn off, said Chuck Haynes, York County Emergency Management director.

Radar Sunday indicated rotational conditions that could have been a tornado, with a "potential touchdown," he said. A National Weather Service field team will determine in a site visit expected to take place on Tuesday if the damage was a tornado, or just heavy winds, Haynes said.

"The radar showed circulation, and there was damage on the ground, but right now we don't have enough information to say it was a tornado or not," Haynes said.

Timberlake residents on Monday morning said they were more certain a tornado had skipped through their common area, taking down massive trees and damaging several homes.

"I think that's where it started, behind my house," said resident Al Vesting. "And it came through. And what happened was, all of a sudden the rain came down and I looked out the window, and I said, wow, look at that rain. And all of a sudden it started going sideways and there was all kinds of noise and everything. I thought the whole house was gonna go."

Vesting said he fears structural damage at his home. He isn't alone.

"The house next to me, the woman had to move out, because her one side wall moved over," Vesting said. "They've got the yellow tape around it. The fire department came, told her she had to move out. And the house on the other side of me, half her roof blew off. She's got a tarp over it. Across the street, another gentleman with half his roof blown off."

Only some of the damage had been cleaned by Monday morning. Metal and siding hung on downed and standing trees. A crater unearthed beside the exposed root system of a massive tree.

Nell Craig had a several concerns Monday. The home on the lot she'd paid extra for, due to the large common area trees beside her patio, was badly damaged. Craig also heads the homeowner association, so she expected a day full of surveying damage.

Craig's husband had just come in from mowing the lawn, and she was in the kitchen, when the storm hit.

"The windows exploded in," she said, "and I saw the rain was going this way, and then all at once the rain was going that way. And everything exploded. It was over as fast as it started."

The roof and windows at the home, where the family has been almost three years, remained patched Monday awaiting an insurance adjustor.

National Weather Service officials said a damage assessment in the affected area of York County will be done Monday or Tuesday. That will determine if there was a tornado.

The hail in the neighborhood was golf ball size hail, and several homes had extensive damage, said resident Jack Howland. He said that he could see rotation in the sky, but did not see a tornado.

"It was crazy out here as it passed through," Howland said. "Some trees were ripped out by their roots, and luckily fell into the road and not into anyone's home. It could have been a lot worse."

Howland and other neighbors responded to help neighbors put up tarps to cover spots where shingles were torn off.

The storm knocked down fencing in the neighborhood and caused other damage.

The Rock Hill Fire Department responded to eight calls for service from the storm as it swept through York County.

A garage and vehicle were damaged in a fire on Madison Street after a tree fell on power lines, said Mark Simmons, deputy chief for the fire department.

A tree fell on an SUV on College Avenue Extension in Rock Hill, causing major damage to the vehicle, Simmons said. There were other calls with minor damage, Simmons said.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald

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