Latest News

Photographer captures dramatic images of Carolinas’ 1st confirmed tornado of 2019

Andy Bagwell took this photo of a funnel cloud over Abbeville, S.C., just before it touched down Friday night.
Andy Bagwell took this photo of a funnel cloud over Abbeville, S.C., just before it touched down Friday night. Courtesy of Andy Bagwell

A photographer captured dramatic images of the first confirmed tornado to strike the Carolinas in 2019 and the damage left in the South Carolina city of Abbeville on Friday night.

The National Weather Service confirmed Saturday that an EFO tornado packing winds of 85 mph touched down about 6:30 p.m. in Abbeville, about an hour south of Greenville.



The tornado cut a path 75 yards wide as it toppled trees and caused minor damage to several homes for nearly 1.7 miles, according to an NWS statement Saturday afternoon.

No injuries were reported, the weather service said.

EFO is the weakest of six rankings of tornado intensity on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which is based on damage.

Andy Bagwell told The Charlotte Observer on Facebook that he took a photo of the funnel cloud 15 minutes before the tornado touched down in Abbeville. Bagwell said he was returning home from the business he owns, Commercial Printing & Graphics.

Abbeville tornado 2.jpg
Andy Bagwell of Abbeville, S.C., took this photo of a damaged home just minutes after a tornado cut a nearly 1.7 -mile path through the city on Friday night. Courtesy of Andy Bagwell

abbeville tornado 3.jpg
Andy Bagwell of Abbeville, S.C., took this photo of a tree that fell on a carport. Bagwell took the photo three minutes after the tornado cut a nearly 1.7-mile path through the city on Friday night. Courtesy of Andy Bagwell

By the time he got home, about four miles from the business, the tornado had touched down, he said. He said he took photos of the damage a few minutes after the tornado had passed through.

abbeville tornado 4.jpg
Andy Bagwell of Abbeville, S.C., took this photo of a fallen three minutes after a tornado cut a nearly 1.7-mile path through town Friday night. Courtesy of Andy Bagwell

On Saturday, Bagwell went out and took more photos of the destruction, including of large tree that sliced open the middle of a brick home.

abbeville tornado 5 Saturday photo.jpg
Andy Bagwell of Abbeville, S.C., took this photo on Saturday of a tree that sliced into a home when a tornado cut through town Friday night. Courtesy of Andy Bagwell

An elderly woman whose home was destroyed when a tornado tore a path through Lee County, Alabama, on March 3, has found comfort in her faith. “I thank the Lord,” said Earnestine Reese, 72, sitting among the ruins of her house.

Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.

  Comments