Another family from Flowertown is counting its blessings in the wake of the devastating Moore, Okla., tornado.
Summerville native Justin Aranda said his wife and children sought the protection of a storm shelter at a neighbor’s house as the tornado approached.
He was at work 15 miles north of Moore.
“I’ll take a hurricane any day over a tornado,” he said.
Aranda, a mental-health technician, said the effect of the storm goes beyond the physical damage.
“Everybody just kind of wears it on their face. It’s just kind of a look of shock and disbelief,” he said.
The Arandas’ home in Moore is a mile from the swath of total destruction cut by the twister. The electricity is back on, and some businesses are reopening, he said.
“We walked away with our house and our lives,” he said.
They moved to Moore two years ago. His wife Shanna’s family is there. The couple have three children and they are expecting twins in September.
The twister also spared Ann and Israel Flores of Summerville, their three children and a newborn grandchild. Their house survived intact.
The Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross has dispatched two staffers to help with the tornado relief effort. On Wednesday, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley urged local residents who want to help to send funds to the Red Cross at redcross.org or 1-800-RED CROSS.
South Carolina has seen its share of strong and dangerous twisters, including a Sept. 29, 1938, Charleston-area storm that spawned five tornados, killed 32 people and injured 150, said State Climatologist Hope Mizell.
Betty Lancer, who was 14 at the time, said she was at her family’s Anson Street home when the twister hit before school.
“It was scary. It was the noisiest thing I ever heard in my life,” she said. “You see nothing but a mass of black. I saw just a whole bunch of things whirling in the air.”
A classmate who lived at East Bay and Market streets was killed, she said.
Since 1950, Charleston County has had 39 tornadoes, which is second in the state to Orangeburg County, where 51 twisters have been recorded. An average of 15 tornadoes yearly occur in the state.
The highest tornado death toll in South Carolina occurred on April 30, 1924, when two twisters, each traveling more than 100 miles, killed 77 people and injured 778. One tornado started in Anderson County and the other began in Aiken County.
Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711.