Message from the Mayor, June 2012
We are certainly happy to congratulate Trent Rushton, as the newly elected president of the SC Future Farmers of America Association.
This is quite an accomplishment and prestigious honor achieved by a very deserving young man. We are proud of Trent, the Wagener Chapter of the FFA and Wagener-Salley High School for their high standards and excellence of both students and staff.
On Feb. 24, 2012, a tornado touched down near Wagener, near the Lexington/Aiken County lines. This tornado had a path width of about 100 yards and was on the ground for approximately 8 miles before lifting near Greens Bridge and Charles Town roads. The National Weather Service storm survey rated this tornado EF-2 intensity, with sustained winds estimated at 130mph.
Radar imagery showed widespread, heavy precipitation at the time and location of the tornado touchdown, which likely menas the circulation was rain wrapped and may not have been visible to those in its path. This was the strongest of nine tornadoes that were reported on Feb. 24.
Most blame “global warming,” but clearly our weather patterns are fluctuating as seasonal temperatures are higher and recent storms seem to be more intense.
Our area historically has more than a 70% increased probability of tornadoes when compared to the entire United States. Our 2012 Atlantic hurricane and season began on June 1 and has been very active so far with two named storms developing before the official start of the season.
When Tropical Storm Debby formed on June 23, it was the first time ever that four storms formed before July since record keeping began in 1851.
On Feb. 24, I feel our warning system in place failed to notify our area residents, businesses and schools as we expected. It has been proven that wide-range alarms or “tornado sirens” are lifesaving devices which we will soon have in place and operational in Wagener.
The system being implemented can be activated via a radio signal from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, the Wagener Police Department or NOAA.
We hope to have the system in full operation before the peak of our August/September tropical storm and hurricane activity, which increases our risks of spawned tornadoes.
Also, I have had two citizens express concern that the old water tower tank on Pickens Street was leaning toward the intersection of Main and Church streets.
Knowing that the tank was constructed about 65 years ago and fearing the worst, we were certainly concerned and asked some others to take a look.
All agreed it was leaning, but all had different opinion as to the direction of the tilt.
I am pleased to tell you that after consulting with engineers and surveyors the tentative report is “straight as an arrow,” with less than ¼ of an inch deviation from the ground to the base of the tank. This information that we needed to know and update, as this study and evaluation was long overdue but now documented.