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'We were lucky:' Homes damaged in York Co. near 2011 tornado site. Was it a tornado?

Strong storm topples trees onto York County homes, leaves residents without power

A storm that ripped through York County late Wednesday left five homes damaged, and more than 1,000 customers in York and Chester counties remained without power Thursday. Emergency management officials say a "microburst" caused the damage.
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A storm that ripped through York County late Wednesday left five homes damaged, and more than 1,000 customers in York and Chester counties remained without power Thursday. Emergency management officials say a "microburst" caused the damage.

A storm that ripped through York County late Wednesday left more than a dozen homes damaged but there were no injuries or loss of life, officials said.

Much of the damage was south of Rock Hill, off S.C. 72 near the Chester County line, near the site of a 2011 tornado that killed three people.

Volunteer firefighters, even as the storm was raging, went house to house to check on residents.

"We had to make sure people were safe and found that fortunately, nobody was hurt even if their houses were damaged," said Bill Dunlap, Oakdale Volunteer Fire Department chief. "This time, we were lucky. Property can be replaced. Lives can't."

Several other roofs from barns and sheds in rural areas south and west of Rock Hill also were damaged, officials said. Trees and power lines were knocked down in several areas. More than 1,400 customers were without power for several hours after trees and poles were knocked down.

No injuries were reported, according to emergency officials.

Yet weather officials do not believe a tornado caused the damage. Straight line winds from the storm likely caused the damage, officials said.

"The National Weather Service does not believe it was a tornado," said Chuck Haynes, York County Emergency Management director.

All the damaged homes are livable and can be repaired, Haynes said.

The damage ranged from the near the Catawba River and the area near S.C. 72 toward western York County around McConnells, Haynes said.

The Palmetto Veterinary Medicine & Surgery Center in McConnells lost power and had to reschedule some services while taking care of the animals who were at the clinic, officials at the clinic told The Herald.

Karen Crummie of McConnells said she was not home when the storm toppled two large 75-year-old oak trees in her front yard. Her grandson, wife and two great-grandchildren were at the home, but not injured.

One of the trees fell on her neighbor's home, she said. He was home but was not injured.

Crummie said they saw the wind lift a china cabinet off a neighbor's front porch.

"I just thank the good Lord none of the kids were hurt," Crummie said.

Power outages were reported in the Harmony area of Chester County and areas in southern and western York County, according to the Duke Energy website.

"We had several limbs and trees down and still have scattered places where power is out," said Eddie Murphy, Chester County Emergency Management director. "We had calls all through the storm."

A Chester family also lost their mobile home after a fire near the Catawba River, Murphy said. No one was injured in the fire, Murphy said. The American Red Cross is assisting the family.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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