HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) – Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of an EF-4 tornado that devastated a community in Hampton County. The tornado killed five people and injured dozens more.
Whenever the clouds get dark and thunderstorms roll through, the memories of last year’s tornado flood Anthony Gray’s mind.
“It was scary, a lot of noise and real loud,” Gray said.
It was a scary morning on April 13, 2020, that he never wants to relive again. Gray remembers going to sleep the night before prepared for strong storms but instead, he was awakened by a powerful tornado.
“The longest two or three minutes of my life or the longest 30 minutes or 30 seconds, but it seemed like forever. I thought it wasn’t going to end,” he said.
One year later Gray said rebuilding has been tough for everyone on his block but the community is one step closer to finding its way back to normal.
“It’s a good feeling. We went from only one house and broken windows to new windows, new roof, to new construction. I mean its a good feeling that everybody’s coming back and it didn’t scare us off,” Gray said.
He’s a farmer who depends on growing crops each year, but the tornado stood in the way.
“I farmed only maybe only 15 percent of the land so it made that difficult also, but this year everything is full force, clean and clear and ready to go,” Gray told News 3.
Many families have been able to build from the ground up and start all over again. Thankfully, for Gray, his house was the last one standing. He says without friends, family and the community coming together Nixville wouldn’t look the way it does now.
“You’re going to have bits and pieces that will never be the same but you just have to move forward,” Gray said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency did visit the area to assess the storm damage last year. Gray says the victims are still waiting for assistance.