Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Many parts of northern and central Lexington County were pounded by storms beginning around 9:30 p.m. last night. Homes were without power, trees and debris littered the roadways, and firefighters, law enforcement officers, and road crews worked their way from call to call trying to get the roads clear before morning commuters began to waken for the work day.
Chapin and the north area were the first to be hit. High winds brought down trees out Old Lexington Highway close to the county’s Crossroads fire station. In some cases, firefighters went from tree to tree, clearing the roads as they proceeded to the original call they had been dispatched to.
At the same time, teams from the Irmo Fire District began to receive calls regarding trees on power lines, limbs and debris in the roads, and other storm related damage. At the height of it all, IFD also aided the county by responding to North Lake Drive near Corley Mill Road. This was necessary because the engine and crew out of the county’s Corley Mill station was blocked by trees and debris across the road while responding to the call from their end of the road.
The area between Lake Murray and the town of Lexington was especially hard hit with Corley Mill Road taking a particularly hard pounding. For most of the night, the firefighters from Engine 30 spent hours checking on the multiple trees and downed lines up and down its length. As late as 5 a.m., they were still responding to the lines down with troopers from the SCHP, and asking that additional help from the SCDOT and the utility companies respond.
Other areas north of Lexington that had blocked roads included the intersection of Beech Creek near Wise Ferry, Old Orangeburg near Squirrel Hollow, Leaphart Road on the Sunset Boulevard (Hwy 378) end, and several others in that same general region.
The city of West Columbia also got hit. The hardest punch seemed to be west of the center of the city closest to the I-26 corridor, although damage was fairly widespread. Firefighters answered alarms and requests for services as trees and limbs came into contact with power lines sparking small fires and major concerns for nearby homeowners and motorists passing by.
SCE&G reported as many as 2,500 homes still were without power in Lexington County by daybreak. Crews were working across the Midlands to get everyone back online as quickly as possible.
Officials have advised commuters to take care and add to their normal drive times in order to ensure they have a safe drive to school and work this morning.