Thousands are without power in The T&D Region.
Orangeburg DPU -- 16,177 customers were without power at 12:45 p.m.
DPU spokesman Randy Etters said the timetable on return of power varies.
A 115KV line in the Belleville area could be restored within a couple of hours, which would return power to about 6,000.
Other parts of the outage are related to interruption of the SCE&G power feed to DPU. Etters said he did not know at midday how long restoration of the source would take.
Etters stressed that people should stay away from downed power lines.
Other outages locally as of 12:45 p.m.:
- Orangeburg County, 9,468 outages
- Bamberg County, 3,040
- Calhoun County, 2,712 outages
SCE&G spokesman Eric Boomhower said the utility has 286,000 customers without power in the state. He could offer no prediction on a restoration timetable for individual customers and for the DPU wholesale power feed.
- Bamberg County, Edisto Electric Cooperative: 2,312. Aiken Electric hopes to have power restored by Saturday evening, according to its CEO
- Calhoun County, 4,720 outages
- Orangeburg County, 7,916 outages
Surprisingly high winds
Hurricane Matthew ripped through The T&D Region Friday night, downing trees and power lines with near-hurricane-force winds.
The National Weather Service reported a peak wind gust of 64 miles per hour at 9:45 a.m. Saturday at the Orangeburg Municipal Airport.
The wind gust was the highest recorded in the Midlands during the hurricane, NWS 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.
Anderson said the wind speeds recorded in Orangeburg were the biggest surprise of the storm's impact on the state.
The Orangeburg Municipal Airport recorded 6.28 inches of rainfall 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 4.5 inches.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall southeast of McClellanville. The storm made landfall between 11 a.m. -11:20 a.m.
The storm spent several days as a Category 3 hurricane before being downgraded to a Category 2 storm overnight and was further downgraded to a Category 1 storm at about 8 a.m.
The storm at 11 a.m. was 55 miles south-southwest of Myrtle Beach and was moving northeast at 12 mph.
Matthew was forecast to become a tropical storm by Saturday evening.
The wind and rain should calm down by 8 p.m.
SCDOT at work
The S.C. Department of Transportation reported that District 7 (Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Clarendon, Hampton and Orangeburg counties) crews were busy at midday removing downed trees from roadways in Aiken County.
"Once winds subside, crews will deploy to remove downed trees in Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties."
No road closures due to Hurricane Matthew were reported at midday.
Stay off roads
Hurricane Matthew has knocked down numerous trees around Orangeburg, blocking roads and snapping power lines.
Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Chief Mike Adams is warning people to stay of the roads and in their homes while the mess is cleared up.
In addition, the S.C. Department of Public Safety is reporting that trees are blocking Interstate 26 westbound at mile marker 152 and Interstate 95 southbound at the 98 mile marker.
T&D correspondent reports
- Minnie Miller: South of Bamerg - Hunters Chapel community- lost power sometime before 4 a.m. Well over 6 inches of rain. Gauge overflowing. (Need to get a bigger gauge). Winds howled all night long. Gusts picking up as of 9. Small and medium-size limbs down. Gullies across dirt roads.
- Ron Baxley Jr.: Evidence of Hurricane Matthew really started to show in the Barnwell area Friday evening around 11 p.m.
Torrential rains and high winds entered the area. Heavy rains and high temperatures plagued the area from 11 p.m. until around 10 a.m. Saturday, when the rain had turned into a drizzle. Over five inches of rain had accumulated in the southern area of Barnwell by 10 a.m. Saturday. Not much evidence of flooding on Marlboro Avenue could be seen.
High winds were strong enough to knock down century-old oak trees as well as scatter large limbs and branches from many trees in the area of Highway 278 headed toward Allendale.
Approximately 700 residents of Barnwell or more were without power starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, according to the South Carolina Electric and Gas outtage hotline. Most local businesses were without power as well.
Power was not restored in some areas until five hours later at noon on Saturday.
High winds continued to blow through Orangeburg County at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Trees were down from Woodford to Rowesville and elsewhere around the county, according to reports via text message and social media.
The Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities said 13,000 were without power.
From David David Chojnacki, Emergency Manager, Calhoun County: As of 10:00 AM this morning we have received numerous reports of roads blocked due to trees and power lines. Please report any damage to the Emergency Operations Center at 803-874-3042.
At 8 a.m., Chojnacki reported: “Numerous trees and power lines are down. Fire departments have been working through the night. Power is out in parts of St. Matthews. The EOC is currently on generator power. No EMS calls through the night.
More to come after 7 a.m.
Officials in Orangeburg and Bamberg counties were warning after 7 a.m. that Hurricane Matthew's worst impact was yet to come.
Orangeburg County Emergency Services Director Bill Staley said at 7 a.m. that the storm's impact was continuing:
"Due to the hazardous conditions, we are asking citizens to stay off the roads. Conditions will continue to worsen in the coming hours."
Holly Hill police posted on social media: "TOWN CLOSED ... Stay home! DO NOT come to Town. Almost every road is under water. Dangerous conditions exist. The worse is yet to come."
Bamberg County Sheriff Ed Darnell issue an order for people not to travel on state or county-maintained roads until emergency crews have cleared the roads.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for The T&D Region until 9 a.m. Saturday after Doppler radar indicated heavy rain across the area.
Radar indicated 4 to 6 inches of rain had fallen across portions of Bamberg, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties. Additional rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are possible.
Also, Orangeburg and Bamberg county authorities reported that several roads are flooded. Fallen trees are blocking roads.
A flood warning has been issued for the North Fork Edisto River at Orangeburg until Wednesday evening.
Heavy rains overnight associated with Hurricane Matthew have produced significant rises along the river.
At 6 a.m. Saturday, the river was at 6.5 feet, with the flood stage at 8 feet.
The river will rise above flood stage tomorrow evening and crest around 8.2 feet after midnight Tuesday morning, according to the NWS. The river will fall below flood stage Tuesday October 11.
The NWS warns never drive vehicles through flooded areas. The water may be too deep to allow safe passage. Never allow children to play in or near flood waters.
Hurricane brings damage
Hurricane Matthew was living up to its ugly billing early Saturday with reports from across the Lowcountry and elsewhere of major damage.
Flooding was reported from the Hilton Head area all the way beyond Charleston, with significant power outages. The storm was continuing to be felt strongly just before dawn, with significant wind and rain.
Interstate 95 was reportedly blocked in both directions between Charleston and Savannah, Georgia, from flooding and downed trees.
Heavy winds continued in The T&D Region, with power outages reported in North and some other locations.
The storm's impact was felt here during the night and was continuing before dawn.
We are awaiting preliminary reports from emergency officials and will update as we know more.
Keep in mind that a high-wind warning is in effect for The T&D Region. If you do not have to go out, don't try to do so.
October 7, Friday, 8:30 p.m. from Orangeburg County Emergency Services Director Billy Staley:
Hurricane Matthew is a very dangerous storm! The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for Orangeburg County. This leads to the potential for sporadic power outages and downed trees. Please remember to always stay away from downed power lines and call the Emergency Operations Center to report this @ (803)533-6265.
In an effort to maintain responder safety, Orangeburg County may alter Emergency Response capabilities during the severe winds Friday night and Saturday. Person having an emergency situation should continue to contact 911in an emergency situation.
Code Red Alert
Calhoun County Emergency Management Friday evening issued a Code Red Alert to all county residents to seek shelter if they are in a structure that is susceptible to winds, according to David Chojnacki, emergency manager for Calhoun County.
The call instructed residents to call the Emergency Management office at 803-874-3042 or go directly to the shelter located at the Calhoun County High School located at 150 Saints Ave. in St. Matthews.
Calhoun County has 6 people in the shelter and expects another 24 soon.
Code Red is a reverse 911 alert system. All residents of South Carolina can register for emergency updates at www.scemd.org
Rain hits region
Rain was falling across The T&D Region Friday evening as Hurricane Matthew inched ever closer to the South Carolina coast.
The region is under a flash flood watch until 8 a.m. Sunday and a high-wind warning from 8 p.m. Friday night to 2 a.m. Sunday.
Winds are forecast to increase to 24 mph to 34 mph after midnight with gusts as high as 47 mph tonight.
On Saturday morning, winds will continue at 31 mph to 37 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.
Winds will decrease Saturday night.
At the Orangeburg airport through 6 p.m. Friday, about 0.28 inches of rain had fallen. A rain gauge about 4 miles north-west of Orangeburg reported about 0.8 inches of rainfall through this same time period.
The heaviest rainfall is expected to move in overnight into early Saturday afternoon.
When all is said and done, The T&D Region can expect to see between 5 inches to 12 inches of rainfall. Rainfall totals will be highest in the eastern part of the region.
Hurricane Matthew decreased to a Category 2 storm Friday evening packing, sustained winds of 110 miles per hour.
The storm was located near Jacksonville, Florida moving north at 12 mph. The storm is forecast to decrease to a Category 1 storm with winds between 75 mph and 95 mph as it moves north.