Johns Island Tornado (25 September 2015)

In the early morning hours of Friday, the 25th of September, a tornado quickly formed within a convective band moving ashore from off the coast of South Carolina. The tornado touched down on Johns Island, in Charleston County, SC, around 12:38 AM and remained on the ground for almost 7 miles, leaving a path of damaged homes and downed trees that was up to 0.5 miles wide. Thankfully there were no fatalities or even major injuries, despite it being a nighttime tornado, which typically leave residents little time to prepare and seek shelter. The National Weather Service rated it an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale with an estimated maximum wind speed of 130 mph.

The University of Florida Wind Hazard Damage Assessment Group report linked below summarizes the damage using publicly available information from social median and local news sources. Our report focuses on the fact that despite the relatively long and wide path, only one home suffered major damage that will likely require it to be rebuilt. We hypothesize that this can at least partially be attributed to the wind resistant building codes that have been in use in Charleston County for the past couple decades. Implications of this with respect to the EF Scale, the damage-based scale use to rate tornado intensity, are also discussed.


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