Storms bring lightning, flooding to Midlands; new rainfall record set

(Source: Megan Madden)
(Source: Megan Madden)
(Source: Kirill Simin)
(Source: Kirill Simin)
Flood waters in Five Points were waist deep in some areas.
Flood waters in Five Points were waist deep in some areas.

By Drew Stewart - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Severe storms swept through the area late Wednesday night, causing frequent cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and flooding.

And a new rainfall record was set at Columbia Metro Airport. Rainfall totaling 3.77 inches fell between 10:30pm and midnight there.

A Flash Flood Warning was issued for Lexington and Richland Counties until 4:45am Thurs. morning as the storms rolled through. Many well-known flood-prone areas in the city received a radar estimated 2 - 4 inches of rain.

Storm damage was reported in Irmo as lightning was a likely cause in a house fire there.

Crews were out first thing Thursday morning, picking up a mess made by one of the most intense storms in recent memory.

City crews cleared storm drains of debris from flower beds in the district, and numerous shop owners were out with brooms and mops well before they were due to open.
It's all proof that the storm was a pretty serious deal.

At Whaley and Assembly Street, a new apartment complex was flooded. Aspyre apartments had flood water in the lobby.

In Five Points, where flood waters are a common occurance during heavy rains. One carpet clean-up company had gotten six calls for service by 9am.

One of the worst hit businesses was Speakeasy in Five Points, where Kirill Simin was hanging out when the storm hit.

"It was raining really hard, then I saw people standing out of the door, and the water was coming in," said Simin.

Simin grabbed his camera and sent us several pictures of the flooding.

"People weren't really scared, they were worried about their cars," said Simin. He says the flooding got so bad some motorists got stranded.

The businesses all along the stretch Saluda Street in Five Points took in some water. Don McAlister owns Loose Lucy's, which is next door to Speakeasy. McAlister has been located there since 1997, and says he's been through storms like that a few times.

"This was a fairly severe event," McAlister said. "We've been flooded half a dozen times since we've been in business. Probably every other year."

Shop owner Dean Ellison says this was not the worst he's seen in his years in Five Points.

"This was not bad for me, I'm fortunate," said Ellison.

Power crews were also busy overnight. At one point, the storm knocked out power to more than 6,000 homes in the Midlands.

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