Barnwell State Park tornado cleanup

Some tornado damage occured in Barnwell State Park this weekend.

Barnwell COunty EMA director, Roger Riley said he doesn’t know a timeframe for when the park will reopen.

“It’s gonna be a while at the state park. There were a lot of years old trees. I counted the rings on one, and it was over 50 years old, and I just quit counting,” Riley said.
“We had trees on buildings that were probably significantly older than that that had come down across roads, so it’s devastating when a storm like this hits. We’re just so thankful nobody was injured, nobody was hurt,” Chief Park Ranger Paul McCormack said.
There were no injuries, but it was a scary Saturday at Barnwell State Park for people who were trapped in tents and mobile homes.
McCormack said when the storm hit, he had one priority: “The people who were out here who were day-use got under one of our CCC shelters, which was built in 1935 and had trees all around them, and they weathered just fine in that shelter. They were trying to cut away debris so they could get out of the park.”
He said it took two hours to get to them due to all the debris, and now, he said their focus is to make the park safe again.

Riley stressed the importance of having emergency kits to survive power outages. The city’s power was out for 24 hours this weekend.
“People just need to keep being prepared for everything. follow our hurricane guides and our earthquake guides. The first 72 hours are on you,” said Riley.
Both Riley and McCormack say the Barnwell County community is playing a large role in the town’s cleanup.
“Especially on a Saturday night after the storm hit, emergency response teams really came to our aid. We’re really appreciative of that,” McCormack said.
“Our community has banded together in each of these instances, and that’s what community’s about,” said Riley.

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