Storms pummel South Carolina - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Storms pummel South Carolina

Hail in Batesburg Hail in Batesburg
Courtesy James Hall in Pelion, picture taken about 6pm Courtesy James Hall in Pelion, picture taken about 6pm
Courtesy RG, high wind damage in Blythewood/NE Columbia Courtesy RG, high wind damage in Blythewood/NE Columbia
Courtesy Georgia Cox in Pelion Courtesy Georgia Cox in Pelion
Courtesy John Sharp, near the Y in Lake Carolina Courtesy John Sharp, near the Y in Lake Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Homes were damaged and tress were knocked down as a strong line of storms moved through the state.

There were at least 17 unconfirmed reports of tornadoes across the middle of the state Saturday from Aiken to Charleston.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said one injury had been reported there.

The National Weather Service says tornado sightings were reported in Abbeville, Aiken, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dillon, Florence, Jasper, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties.

The National Weather Service says a member of the public reported a seeing funnel cloud at 4:37pm two miles north of Prosperity. No injuries were immediately reported there.

Sheriff Lee Foster says that large trees were uprooted, many homes were heavily damaged, and at least one home was destroyed by the tornado. He said that the damages included roofs torn from homes, chimneys that collapsed, and damage from trees falling.  Foster said that it would be difficult at this point to estimate the number of home damaged by the storm.

In the area of Highway 391, one person was trapped in a mobile home after it was destroyed. We've learned she's in stable condition. Foster said that all of her valuables were inside the home, and that thanks to the valiant efforts of the Prosperity Fire Department and Prosperity Rescue Squad most of those items were recovered.

Foster said that the main power lines were knocked down during the storm and there were a number of power outages throughout the Prosperity area. Crews have been working to restore power.

An Abbeville County sheriff's deputy reported a tornado touchdown near Due West that knocked down trees. A dispatcher with the sheriff's department says no injuries had been reported.

In Aiken County, a state of emergency a curfew was declared Saturday night. We have learned there is a great deal of damage in the Bath area.

Thousands are still without power and water in the county. You can read more about the repair and recovery effort here.

We have received pictures from Lake Carolina in Northeast Richland County showing a great deal of damage to houses. One picture shows a tree that crashed into a house.

In the Lugoff-Elgin area a warehouse is destroyed and a roof ripped off a car wash and a gas station. And the mayor says the weather blew windows out of the post office. We've also received reports of damage to a middle school and other buildings.

The storm flipped a trailer in Batesburg-Leesville. A neighbor describes the storm as a white, foggy cloud. She remembers a very loud noise and the vibrations as the trailer flipped.

In Branchville viewer Alan Gray says he pulled into a car wash to get out of the hail when the severe weather came through the area. He says, "A few minutes later here comes a bunch of debris and the car started rocking with debree flying all out in front of us and it just demolished the whole car wash. Everything fell down on top of the car. And a cinder ... concrete block flew into the windshield and trapped us in there, but everybody was fine. And it took the little restaurant top next to us all the way off, and stuff was flying all out in the trees and really hurt, hurt Branchville pretty good."

WIS News 10's Dawndy Mercer reported golf ball sized hail in the Blythewood area.

The storm knocked out power in various areas of the state. South Carolina Electric and Gas reported about 25,000 customers without power as the storm traveled through the heart of its service area.

Kershaw County assistant administrator Brenda Wilhite says several houses there were seriously damaged and hundreds of trees were down.

Wilhite says there were no reports of injuries, but there were widespread power outages that had knocked out a couple of water pumping stations.

Storms killed two people yesterday in Georgia. National Weather Service officials are expected to be there Sunday to determine weather a tornado was responsible for the deaths.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports a woman in Polk County died when a storm demolished her home and threw her and her husband into a field. An elderly man in neighboring Floyd County was killed by flying debris while sitting in his home.

The storms came a day after a tornado hit downtown Atlanta and sent more than two dozen people to the hospital.

The twister brought 130mph winds and cut a six-mile path of destruction through the city. The storm damaged the Georgia Dome, Phillips Arena, CNN Center and the Georgia World Congress Center.

The state's insurance commissioner estimates Friday's damage at up to $200 million.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford issued the following statement Sunday about the storms:

"As we go about the process of assessing all of the storms' damage, I'd first off ask that every South Carolinian join Jenny, the boys, and me in offering thoughts and prayers to those affected by these events. We're continuing to ascertain the damage and monitor the aftereffects of this storm. During that process, we've been communicating with the counties via the state Emergency Management Division to see what assets are needed, and offering whatever state assistance is requested. As damage assessments are completed, we'll have a fuller and more accurate picture of the storms' effects."

You can count on WIS News 10 to continue to let you know how the repair and recovery effort goes.

Updated by Logan Smith

Copyright 2008 Raycom Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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