Multiple deaths, extensive damage reported across S.C. in wake of tornado outbreak

Updated: Apr. 14, 2020 at 2:52 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Deadly storms ripped through South Carolina early Monday morning, claiming several lives and leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

At least nine people died when tornadoes touched down in different parts of the state.

According to the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, two people have died and two others were seriously injured when a EF3 tornado passed through Neeses early Monday morning.

Across the state, at least one person died in Oconee County and five others died in a tornado in Hampton County. And in Colleton County, a grandmother died when a tree fell on her house.

The WIS First Alert Weather Team declared Monday an Alert Day for possible severe weather as early as last week.

Chief Meteorologist Dominic Brown was on air and on the WIS Facebook page during multiple Tornado Warnings across the viewing area. Those expired around 7:15 a.m.

This same storm system has been blamed for more than 30 deaths and damage to hundreds of homes from Louisiana into the Appalachian Mountains.

Monday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said multiple, long-track tornadoes touched down across the state.

Damage surveyors found evidence of an EF3 tornado in Orangeburg County, another EF3 in Oconee County, EF2 damage from Pickens County into Greenville County, EF1 damage in Georgetown and more EF0 damage in Pickens County.

Some of the tornadoes were on the ground for 30 to 50 miles, a meteorologist for the NWS said at a news conference Monday.

The NWS will continue to assess damage across the state.

Officials with the state Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) said the following counties saw most of the damage:

  • Aiken
  • Berkley
  • Colleton
  • Hampton
  • Oconee
  • Orangeburg
  • Pickens

At the peak of the storm, there were 290,000 customers without power in South Carolina.

As of Monday evening, about 90,000 customers still had no power, a spokesman for SCEMD said.

He also warned the death toll from the storms could rise as crews access more remote areas that saw storm damage.

SCEMD is also working to estimate the extent of the damage across the state to get a financial assessment for rebuilding. It’s possible parts of the state could qualify for federal disaster relief aid.

To help with that, the spokesman encouraged the public to download the official SCEMD app to report damage to the agency. Click or tap here for more information about the app.

Here in the Midlands, one woman who was inside a home on Jeanette Drive in Columbia reported tree limbs falling through the bedroom ceiling within inches of her. She and the elderly person who own the home were thankfully not injured.

Another home on Samson Cir. also received some damage. The man and his family who lived there were not injured. However, vehicles at his residence, as well as his parents’ residence next door, were damaged by the storm as well.

Power lines and downed trees could also be seen in areas that were affected by the line of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that swept through the state early Monday morning.

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