A quiet Friday night turned into a sudden jolt awake for many Highland County residents as tornado sirens and emergency alerts announced tornado warnings in the area early Saturday morning. The National Weather Service in Wilmington confirmed Saturday in a public information statement that multiple tornadoes, including an EF0 and an EF1, touched down near Hillsboro Saturday morning.
“It is apparent that a tornado did touch down approximately three to five miles northeast of Hillsboro” and a separate tornado touch down was confirmed, “approximately six to seven miles west of Hillsboro,” Saturday morning, a statement from the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
Another tornado caused major damage but no injuries in South Salem in Ross County, according to the NWS.
At around 12:55 a.m. Saturday morning, the NWS issued a tornado warning for northern Highland County, according to James Gibson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Wilmington. The warning followed multiple earlier reports, posted to the National Weather Service’s Twitter account, of the likelihood of inclement weather, including the possibility of severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadic conditions as a cold front moved through the area Friday night into Saturday morning.
In a statement, the National Weather Service Wilmington stated of the EF0 tornado that the, “first tornado to occur in Highland County started near the intersection of Danville Rd. and Roush Rd. Numerous trees were damaged to the west side of Danville Rd.”
The statement indicated that several structures along the path of the confirmed tornado, including homes and outbuildings, sustained damage that included roof damage and broken windows. The report stated that, “The strongest damage was found at a residence on the north side of Roush Rd., where an outbuilding sustained roof damage.” The statement added that multiple trees at the same property were also damaged or uprooted.
The NWS, in its preliminary statement, described the disposition of the tornado, which reportedly sustained an estimated maximum wind speed of 80 mph, as experiencing weakened circulation as it, “continued east along Roush Rd. and eventually dissipated east of Kesler Rd.” The statement indicated the tornado had a duration of approximately three minutes, and was estimated to have begun at 12:53 a.m. and have ended at 12:56 a.m.
The second tornado to affect the area, beginning at 1:03 a.m. and ending at 1:08 a.m., had an estimated maximum wind speed of 95 mph and was rated an EF1, according to information released by the NWS, which stated that, “damage associated with the tornado began east of US 62, north of Hillsboro, and consisted of uprooted trees and large snapped limbs.”
The report stated that, “The first structural damage was observed north of Selph Rd., near Lewis Lane,” and included “a large portion of roof covering” that had been “removed from an outbuilding” as a result of the documented tornado.
The NWS report indicated that a substantial area of sustained tornado damage was unreachable, “due to no road availability” in the area, but was estimated to encompass “around one mile between Lewis Lane and Kincaid Rd. to the east.” According to the NWS, a structure on the east side of Kincaid Road sustained side wall damage as a result of garage door failure.
Further along Kincaid Rd., the report stated, “a considerable amount of trees were snapped and uprooted”, which, according to the NWS, is, “consistent with straight line winds.” The report emphasized that, “the most severe damage” resulting from the tornado occurred along Morrow Road where multiple trees and outbuildings, “received considerable damage.”
The NWS said that the tornado weakened quickly with the final observed damage occurringnear Fall Creek.
The NWS additionally reported that tornadoes were also confirmed near Frankfort and South Salem in Ross County on Saturday, as part of the same weather system that had previously affected Highland County.
The Highland County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that no injuries or fatalities had been reported in the county as a result of the storms.
For more information about the weather monitoring visits the NWS Facebook page or Twitter page at www.Twitter.com/NWSILN.