Tropical Storm Kyle &

the Georgetown Tornado

October 11, 2002

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On October 11, 2002, Tropical Storm Kyle moved along the South and North Carolina coastlines, producing heavy rainfall, gusty winds along the beaches, and an F2 tornado in Georgetown, SC which injured eight people. Kyle was a very long lived tropical storm - in fact it was the third longest lived Atlantic Tropical Storm in history, lasting 21 days. Kyle meandered across the western Atlantic in an erratic, looping path which did not appear to be aimed at the US Coast until only days before its landfall. Luckily, Kyle was a weak storm with maximum sustained winds of only 45 mph as it affected land.

Kyle will be remembered for its heavy rainfall, and for the tornado it produced in Georgetown, SC. Landfalling tropical systems often produce tornadoes due to strong vertical shear found in the storm's swirling wind flow. A tornado watch was issued for all of northeast South Carolina, including Georgetown, from 10:20 am until 4:00 pm. At 1:12 pm, forecasters from the National Weather Service in Wilmington saw evidence on doppler radar for a tornado over Georgetown and issued a Tornado Warning. Residents interviewed the next day said they heard the warning rebroadcast over television just before the storm struck.

A storm survey was conducted by the National Weather Service in Wilmington. This survey found damage ranging from F0 (limbs torn from trees) all the way to F2. (car overturned) The F2 damage occurred only in a small area and was surrounded by F1 and F0 damage on either side of the path.

Use the links at the top of this page to view the information available from Tropical Storm Kyle and the Georgetown Tornado. If you have digital pictures of damage, or of the tornado itself, please send them to or our webmaster, , and we will post them on this webpage.