SPC Stats

Path length: 4 miles

Width:  150 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  39

Rating:  F2

County:  Horry

A tornado made a trek through parts of Myrtle Beach, SC on July 6, 2001.  It began near the Myrtle Beach Pavilion at 9th Ave N and moved just offshore becoming a waterspout.  It skirted the beach causing F2 damage, overturning buses and causing damage to hotels along the beach.  

After moving down the beachfront, the tornado skipped over and hit the Seagate RV park.  10 RVs destroyed, 40 more damaged.  There was also weaker F0 damage at the Myrtle Beach International Airport.  There were 39 injuries and no fatalities.

Details from Storm Data

As a weak cold front moved south into an afternoon sea breeze boundary, slow-moving thunderstorms developed along the Horry county coast.  An F0 tornado briefly touched down at 9th Ave N near the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, and soon after a waterspout formed just off the beach near 3rd Ave N.  It slightly damaged the 2nd Ave N pier and then moved over the beach as it developed more strongly, causing F2 damage – overturned buses and extensive damage to vehicles and hotels along the beach to about 4nd Ave S.  Moving off the beach again, the waterspout continued south about 100 yards from the shore until it came ashore between 28th Ave S and Springmaid Pier…causing a 66 knot gust over water at the Springmaid Pier anemometer.  As it moved through the Seagate RV park, it did F1 damage – destroyed 10 RVs and damaged 40 more.  Weakening further, the tornado crossed US Hwy Business 17 onto Myrtle Beach International Airport, doing F0 damage to trees and structures.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

The coordinates provided by the SPC Database weren’t correct.  The beginning and ending lat/lon were the same (33.7/-78.88).  It was a 4 mile path.  I found some track maps via NWS Wilmington NC and attaching those instead.  The map shows 4 separate damage paths.  The main tornado took a path down the beachfront.  There were 3 smaller “touchdowns”.  It is unclear if this was from the same tornado or separate ones.  The damage from all 4 paths is mentioned in one Storm Data entry, so the assumption could be made they were all from the same skipping tornado.

Tornado Photo Extracted from Storm Data

Waterspout just off the beach of Myrtle Beach Grand Strand. Photo via Myrtle Beach Sun-News, extracted from Storm Data.

Tornado and Damage Photos via NWS Wilmington, NC

Picture courtesy © Bill Taaffe
Taken from in front of the Myrtle Square mall near 25th Avenue North. Picture courtesy © Michael Smith/Myrtle Beach Herald.
4:15 pm at 2nd Avenue North, Myrtle Beach. Courtesy © WPDE TV 15.
Picture courtesy © Marc Odien
This large billboard was bent over by winds estimated in excess of 100 mph. Credit NWS.
Most windows were blown out of ocean-facing rooms in this hotel, and some palm trees had their tops ripped from them. Credit NWS.
Pool furniture was thrown into the pool or into the downwind corner of the pool area by the tornado. Picture courtesy © WBTW TV
Seagate Village RV park. Picture courtesy © WBTW TV


Newspaper Clippings


The Storm Prediction Center

NCDC Storm Events Database

July 2001 Storm Data Publication

NWS Wilmington NC Summary


Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 991.

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