NWS meteorologist discusses damage survey after confirmation of - FOX Carolina 21

NWS meteorologist discusses damage survey after confirmation of EF2 tornado in Spartanburg Co.

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Storm damage in Spartanburg County (Oct. 23, 2017/FOX Carolina) Storm damage in Spartanburg County (Oct. 23, 2017/FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-2 tornado touched down in Spartanburg County. That means wind speeds reached as high as 111 to 135 miles per hour.

Meteorologists from NWS have been traveling the tornado’s path conducting a very thorough damage survey. They reconstruct the tornado’s life cycle and assess its strength based on the damage left behind.

NWS Meteorologist Trisha Palmer talked to FOX Carolina about the process and demonstrated how she enters each indicator into the Damage Assessment Tool Box to determine a tornado’s strength. She says she and other meteorologists at NWS could tell this was a tornado even as it was happening because flying debris was visible on RADAR.

“When we see debris that’s lofted in the air and it corresponds to the circulation we’re seeing on RADAR, we’re pretty sure at that point it’s a tornado,” Palmer said. “There’s a reason why we issue tornado warnings to begin with because we see that circulation.”

As she gathers the data and measurements necessary to rate this tornado, she says she appreciates the less quantifiable parts of the task too.

“It’s heartbreaking at times to go out and talk to the people but then there are a lot of uplifting moments too,” she said. “We talked to a couple on with damage and they were fine and you see best of human nature.”

A final assessment from the National Weather Service, including the specific details of the damage path and length, is expected to be completed by 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

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