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Displaying AFOS PIL: PNSCHS Received: 2017-05-25 18:34 UTC

NOUS42 KCHS 251834

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Charleston SC
234 PM EDT Thu May 25 2017


Location...Southern Wilmington Island in Chatham county County
Estimated Time...553 PM EDT
Maximum EF-Scale Rating...EF2
Estimated Maximum Wind Speed...116 MPH
Maximum Path Width...300 yards
Path Length...7.4 miles 
Beginning Lat/Lon...31.98 N / 81.00 W 
Ending lat/Lon...32.03 N / 80.88 W
* Fatalities...0
* Injuries...0

* The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to
change pending final review of the event(s) and publication in
NWS Storm Data.

The National Weather Service in Charleston SC has confirmed a
tornado near southern Wilmington Island in Chatham County
Georgia on 05/23/2017.

At approximately 553 PM EDT, a tornado touched down on the southern end of
Wilmington Island, Georgia, near the intersection of Wilmington Island Road
and Biltmore Road. At this point, the tornado was rated EF1 in strength, 
with maximum winds of up to 100 to 110 mph. The tornado moved east along Biltmore
Road, then turned more east-northeast along a portion of Walthour Road.  
Across this entire area of southern Wilmington Island, the bulk of the damage
was in the form of large snapped and uprooted trees. The Chatham County 
Emergency Management Agency reported that just over 30 homes sustained damage,
ranging from minor shingle loss, to moderate to major damage due to trees or 
large limbs hitting the homes. At least one home surveyed along Walthour 
Road sustained direct structural damage from the tornado, with the roof 
to a sunroom being torn off. 

The tornado continued east-northeast across several miles of marsh, which
extends from east of Walthour Road to U.S. Highway 80 near Fort Pulaski,
Georgia. Radar evidence, surveyed damage, and eye witness video indicated 
that the tornado strengthened to a low end EF2 as it approached Fort Pulaski. 
The tornado moved over/near the visitor center of the Fort, where it caused the 
concrete walls and roof structure to shift and buckle. A smaller building next 
to this building had similar damage. There were many hardwood trees snapped close
to the base of their trunks all around the complex of the Fort, along with at
least two mid-sized vehicles in the parking lot being pushed and rolled over. 

The tornado then progressed across the parking lot, just north of the Fort 
itself, where it exited into the Atlantic Ocean as a strong tornado/waterspout
at approximately 603 PM EDT. There was a Coast Guard report of a capsized a 48 foot
fishing vessel about a mile north-northeast of Tybee Island, with three missing 
crew members as of the time of this report. We surmised that this vessel was hit 
by the tornado after it moved north from Fort Pulaski.   

This information can also be found on our website at

For reference: the Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes
into the following categories:

EF0...Wind speeds 65 to 85 mph
EF1...Wind speeds 86 to 110 mph
EF2...Wind speeds 111 to 135 mph
EF3...Wind speeds 136 to 165 mph
EF4...Wind speeds 166 to 200 mph
EF5...Wind speeds greater than 200 mph