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Tornado suspected in Bluffton damage

Monica Morgan of Bluffton watches as her son Alex, 8, investigates their family's recently bought gazebo Friday morning after a storm transported it to their neighbor's yard the previous night. Residents report seeing swirling winds, but the National Weather Service has not confirmed whether it was a tornado that did the damage. The storm tore up fences along  Grove Way and Torrey Lane in the Pineridge development.
Monica Morgan of Bluffton watches as her son Alex, 8, investigates their family's recently bought gazebo Friday morning after a storm transported it to their neighbor's yard the previous night. Residents report seeing swirling winds, but the National Weather Service has not confirmed whether it was a tornado that did the damage. The storm tore up fences along Grove Way and Torrey Lane in the Pineridge development.

A tornado might have struck parts of Bluffton on Thursday night, part of a severe storm system that moved across the state.

A possible tornado was reported at about 11:30 p.m. in the Pineridge subdivision on Grove Way, according to a news release Friday from the Bluffton Police Department.

Witnesses reported seeing lawn chairs, tree branches and smaller debris flying through the air. Police officers found several damaged fences and fallen trees, the release said.

No one was injured and there was no sign of structural damage to homes. Power went out for about two hours.

The National Weather Service in Charleston said it was investigating reports of damage to determine whether the cause was a tornado or just high winds.

The Associated Press reports that authorities plan to investigate whether a tornado damaged 15 homes in Anderson County.

The National Weather Service said five of the homes suffered major damage and numerous trees were knocked down a few miles north of Anderson around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Less than 15 minutes earlier, authorities say a storm knocked down trees and took the siding off a house in southern Oconee County. Forecasters will survey the damage from both storms to determine if it was caused by a tornado.

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