Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Heavy storms have pounded Lexington County over the weekend, most starting later in the day and often continuing into the night. These storms causing ponding water on roads, downing trees and powerlines, and impacting roads that have washed some out requiring closures, have had little impact on the lives of Lexington County residents and visitors. Most issues have been what would be considered mild inconveniences compared to what could have occurred given the intensity of the bad weather.
The most severe damages were reported Friday. This storm seemed to be in a swath that started just north and west of I-20 at the South Lake Drive exit Friday afternoon and evening. During several storms, the area received hard rain and high winds. The damages appeared to have started on Industrial Drive, extended through Lexington and cut along Harmon Street bringing downing trees, powerlines, and flooding the streets. Law enforcement agencies cautioned motorists against driving in those areas as some of the roads were seriously damaged as a result of flooding. Traffic lights at Industrial and South Lake were out for a time Friday while the powerlines in the area were down. One motorist who drove through the worst of the first storm said that she was coming home from vacation at Myrtle Beach and hit rain so hard that people were stopping along the interstate.
On Saturday afternoon and late into the night, several lines of severe storms came through Lexington County again. Before 3:30 p.m. much of the southwest of the county was placed under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning by the National Weather Service. At around 4:00 p.m., the entire county was included in that warning.
The Irmo Fire District was dispatched to a tree on a home off Bush River Road and there were several other weather related emergencies. Most caused minimal damages. Some roads were closed because of flooding. Sunday morning, there were reports that Railroad Avenue near Burton Road in Lexington had been damaged as a result of washing. The rural dirt roads were affected in the county as they always are, but those can’t be addressed until after it stops raining unless a road becomes completely impassable. Lexington County has a map that can be accessed from their website that shows what roads are closed. That map can also be seen by clicking this LINK.
It was already raining early Sunday morning before noon and heavier storms were forecast for later Sunday afternoon and evening. Emergency planners suggest getting ready just in case the weather becomes severe again. Residents should have a flashlight at the ready with fresh batteries for it. They should also have stored fresh water, a hand operated can opener, their cell phone fully charged, and some cash on hand. If the power is out, ATMs don’t usually operate. Most grocers now have generator backups that will run their registers if their stores lose power, but smaller stores may not. It’s also important that you have access to ice if the power is out for an extended period.
You can cook or heat items on a gas or charcoal grill, but never use these indoors. Make sure that your home has working smoke detectors. If your home or an outbuilding takes a direct lightning strike, call 911. Most burning structure fires from lightning strikes occur after the area of the building struck sits and smolders for a bit. Firefighters will check your home fully to make sure there is no smoldering or hidden fire if it's struck.
Know your utility company’s power outage phone number. Don’t neglect to call because you assume a neighbor has. Never approach a downed line or assume it’s a safe cable or communications line. That should be decided by utility experts. Power companies say that you should never get within 30 feet of any line as you don’t have to touch a downed line for it to injure or kill you.
The outage lines for local utility companies are:
Dominion Energy (SCE&G) – 1-888-333-4465
Mid-Carolina Electric Co-Op – 1-888-813-7000 or 803-749-6444.
Tri-County Electric Co-Op – 1-877-874-1215 or 803-874-1215
Aiken Electric Co-Op – Call or Text OUT to 877-264-5368 (Must use the phone listed on your account)
Call only once to report an outage. Calling multiple times will not move you to the front of the list and ties up phone lines. Often, main transmission lines may be down that have to be repaired before neighborhoods and then individual customer’s homes can be brought back online.