North Carolina – During a particularly violent thunderstorm on Tuesday night, man was caught in the furious winds as he attempted to help individuals stuck in a vehicle, as per information released by the National Weather Service (NWS).
The man suffered injuries, including a broken jaw and a cut, when he was struck by a falling tree as he was swept off his feet by the wind in Cherryville, a small city located in Gaston County. This information was contained in a storm damage report by the NWS office located in Greer, South Carolina.
Cherryville, housing a population of about 6,000, is located 37 miles to the northwest of Charlotte.
The Ferocity of the Storm and Its Impact on Cherryville
The NWS team found that during the violent supercell storm, the straight-line winds reached a maximum speed of 85 mph. This strength is comparable to an EF-0 tornado, which is the least powerful on the NWS Enhanced Fujita Scale that is used to classify tornado wind speed and the extent of damage they cause.
Unlike tornadoes, the winds in a straight-line thunderstorm do not rotate.
Chronology of the Storm and the Resulting Destruction
The storm reached the Cherryville vicinity just after 6:30 p.m., causing trees to be uprooted along N.C. 274 and roofs to be ripped off a house and a metal structure within the city limits of Cherryville, as reported by the team.
Just 30 minutes prior, the NWS had reported the “intense supercell thunderstorm” depositing hail potentially the size of golf balls in northern Cleveland County.
The storm moved a distance of 4.8 miles in the Cherryville region, beginning approximately 3 miles northwest of the city, and the path of destruction ending 2 miles to the east of the city, as documented by the NWS.
Damage Analysis by the NWS Survey Team
The majority of the damage was seen within the city limits of Cherryville, primarily in the form of numerous uprooted trees, as per the findings of the survey team.
The NWS data shows that in most years, nationwide damage reports for straight-line winds far outnumber those for tornadoes.
Formation of Straight-line Winds During Storms
These winds are created following a downburst of air during a storm, as explained by NWS officials. The air dragged down by rain or other precipitation in the storm travels in a straight line once it makes contact with the ground, according to the weather service.