IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Hundreds of Thousands Without Power After Tornadoes Hit S.C.

At least one person died, as the Oconee County coroner reported. Both severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were issued for the Midlands, the National Weather Service office in Columbia said.

(TNS) -- Tornado warnings were issued for much of the Midlands Monday morning as severe weather hit the Columbia area.

At least two people in the Midlands were killed, and thousands of power customers were left in the dark in the morning as the powerful storms moved across South Carolina.

The storm-related deaths happened in Orangeburg County, Emergency Services Director Billy Staley told The State.

Both severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were issued for the Midlands, the National Weather Service office in Columbia said on Twitter.

Tornadoes, powerful straight-line winds approaching 70 mph, and hail were all forecast to impact the Midlands, with the most severe effects predicted between 6-8 a.m., the NWS said.

Possible tornado touchdowns were reported in the Midlands area, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.

The NWS said it sent crews to at least seven locations in the Midlands area to determine if tornadoes touched down in certain areas while evaluating the strength of the storms in others.

Minutes before 6 a.m., a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” was reported about 10 miles north of Blackville, moving northeast at 50 mph, SCEMD said.

“Multiple tornadoes possible! THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. TAKE COVER NOW!” SCEMD said of the storm as it moved near Blackville.

The NWS issued a tornado watch for the Midlands.

Just before 7:30 a.m., the tornado watch was cancelled in Richland County. It had already been cancelled in Lexington County, in addition to Kershaw, Aiken, Barnwell, Edgefield, McCormick, Newberry, Saluda, Bamberg, Calhoun, Chesterfield, Fairfield, and Lancaster counties, the NWS reported.

It was later removed for the remaining areas in Sumter, Orangeburg, Clarendon and Lee counties, according to the NWS.

The NWS confirmed a tornado touched down in Aiken County, Emergency Management Director Paul Matthews told The State.

Although several homes were damaged — and some destroyed — in the Windsor area, Matthews said only minor injuries were reported.

No one was transported to a hospital even though the storms zeroed in on a section of Jaywood Road near U.S. 278, according to Matthews.

Less than seven miles away, a business was destroyed near White Pond Road and U.S. 78, Matthews said.

At one point Monday morning, more than 243,000 power customers in South Carolina were without electricity.

By 3 p.m., the statewide outage total dropped to 116,066, with Dominion Energy (20,727), The Electric Cooperative of South Carolina (5,070), Duke Energy (38,920), and Santee Cooper (215) all reporting outages from the storm.

At one point, more than 28,000 energy customers were without power in Richland and Lexington counties. But by 3:20 p.m., 5,300 were still without power in those counties.

Officials in Richland, Lexington and Calhoun counties all said no injuries were reported following the storms.

That was not the case in Orangeburg County, where multiple people were hurt in the storms, Staley said.

Information on how many people were injured was not available, but Staley said some were considered serious and traumatic.

Crews from the NWS are on the ground in Orangeburg County to determine if the powerful storms were tornadoes.

Regardless of classification, the severe weather left a wide swath of damage that covered several miles, according to Staley.

He said emergency responders are still searching the damaged areas to make sure everyone is accounted for and no one is missing. That area includes personal property and mobile homes that were destroyed in the storm, Staley said.

At least four houses in Lexington County were damaged by the storm, Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill told The State. Two caught on fire after they were struck by lightning, and others were affected by fallen trees and limbs.

“Lexington County was largely unscathed,” Cahill said.


©2020 The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Visit The State (Columbia, S.C.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.