Lexington County, SC (Paul Kirby) – Hurricane Michael rushed through Lexington County Thursday dumping heavy rains, knocking down power lines, limbs, a few trees, and even flooding a few areas that are usually susceptible to flooding when we have heavy rains, but for the most part here, there was not much to it. A lot of the most powerful part of the storm we slept through between midnight and daylight as the high winds buffeted the area and the rains poured. By morning, our roads were littered with pine needles, limbs, leaves, and branches, and in some cases whole trees, but unless you lost power or had to get out in the weather, you probably didn’t really know it.
In several instances, those who were out had trees and limbs fall on vehicles and some homes took hits to their roofs, but we had no significant injuries reported from these. Police officers, EMS personnel, and firefighters were ready, but for the most part they spent the worst of the storm reporting where power lines were down, marking off flooded roads and downed trees, and rescuing a few animals that couldn’t rescue themselves when the water started to rise. Irmo firefighters even reported by social media they had rescued a tortoise; wait, can’t they swim? Even Springdale police officers and other law enforcement officers that normally spend their time chasing crooks joined in with saws, chains, and in some cases pure muscle power to clear fallen debris to get the roads open again.
For those that were travelling to work, home, or somewhere else, the commute saw a large number of wrecks. Police cleared those as quickly as possible, although some in outlying areas had to wait quite some time for law enforcement to arrive. In only a few cases was the flow of traffic disrupted on interstates because of trees and other things being knocked down and around by the storm.
One of the strangest things about Hurricane Michael was how quickly he left. In comparison to other storms we’ve had, he hustled out of here at high speed. As the hurricane rotated counter-clockwise, we saw periods of calm followed by bands of rain and wind up through mid-afternoon, but by 4:00 p.m., much of the county was enjoying a pleasant breeze and bright sunshine like any other beautiful fall day. Michael had done what he would do and then he moved on.
I don’t mean to downplay the effects of Michael for those whose homes were damaged or lost a car or something else they value. For those who had that type of experience, certainly Michael was a big deal. For the rest of the county, we’ll need to pick up some limbs and do a little raking, the yard may be a little muddy and in the sandy lands of the south of Lexington County, certainly public works will need to grade some roads, but for the most part, we did okay.
Let’s all take a few minutes when we can to thank the folks who did work through the storm because that’s what they do. This is a long list that includes folks like the 911 dispatcher, the police, firefighters, and EMTs, utility employees, public works and DOT folks, and so many more. Thanks to you all.