Hurricane Matthew-Church

The area is front of Gethsemane Baptist Church on Highway 321 between North and Woodford is flooded and moving like a river Saturday morning.

Hurricane Matthew ripped through The T&D Region Friday night and Saturday morning, downing trees and power lines with near-hurricane force winds.

The National Weather Service reported a peak wind gust of 64 mph at 9:45 a.m. Saturday at the Orangeburg Municipal Airport.

The wind gust was the highest recorded in the Midlands during the hurricane, meteorological technician Doug Anderson said.

The airport saw maximum sustained wind speeds of about 35 mph to 39 mph recorded at about 5 a.m. Saturday morning.

The wind speeds “were a little bit higher than we were looking for," Anderson said.

Winds began to increase in The T&D Region about 8 p.m. Friday night, clocking at an average of 15 mph to 20 mph. Gusts reached 30 mph.

The winds steadily increased through the night, with wind gusts recorded at 40 mph at 11 p.m.

Anderson is not absolutely sure why Orangeburg saw the highest wind gusts in the Midlands. Orangeburg's terrain and the proximity of Lake Marion could have had an impact.

Hurricane Matthew's winds toppled trees and power lines.

"Most people heeded the warnings to stay off the roads," Anderson said. "There are a lot of trees in the roadway, including on Broughton Street, Middleton Street and Hampton Avenue.”

Anderson said there were also collisions involving people driving during the height of the storm.

In the Orangeburg area, traffic lights were out across the city. During the storm's height, significant flooding occurred on Stonewall Jackson Boulevard.

The Orangeburg Airport recorded 6.28 inches of rain from 7 a.m. Friday through about 11 a.m. Saturday.

Other reports had Santee at 9.7 inches, Holly Hill with 8.35 inches and North with 4.5 inches.

The North Fork of the Edisto River's level on Saturday afternoon was 7.44 feet and flood stage is 8 feet. The river was expected to crest at 8.5 feet Sunday at noon.

The T&D Region will be much drier and cooler heading into next week.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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Business Reporter

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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