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Storms cause school closures in Bamberg, Calhoun, Orangeburg counties; classes resume Friday
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Storms cause school closures in Bamberg, Calhoun, Orangeburg counties; classes resume Friday

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Schools were closed early Thursday ahead of the storms that moved through The T&D Region. The schools are expected to reopen Friday.

The leading edge of the storms, which is typically the most severe, rolled through Orangeburg shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday. It dumped heavy rains, but apparently caused few major problems.

"So far, so good," Orangeburg County Assistant Emergency Services Director Chris Murdaugh said shortly after 6 p.m. "We have not had anything yet, which is a good thing."

Calhoun County Emergency Services Director David Chojnacki said, "All is calm.”

Skies darkened throughout the day as the sun tried to poke through fast-moving clouds.

The first severe thunderstorm warning for The T&D Region was issued shortly after 4 p.m. calling for wind gusts of more than 60 mph.

The first heavy rains began to roll into the area shortly before 5 p.m., but the storms weakened to below severe levels as they neared Orangeburg. The thunderstorm warning was cancelled.

Flood warnings were also in place for the North Fork of the Edisto River and the Congaree River at Carolina Eastman.

The Edisto River is forecast to crest at about 8.5 feet Saturday evening.

At 8 feet some minor flooding occurs along the boardwalk at Edisto Memorial Gardens. Downstream from the Highway 301 bridge, some roads off Chiquita Street near the river begin to flood.

The Congaree River at Carolina Eastman is forecast to crest at about 124.6 feet, causing moderate flooding near the river.

At 124 feet, extensive flooding occurs at the Carolina Eastman facility with some access roads flooded. Extensive farmland flooding occurs in the area.

The South Fork of the Edisto River is not expected to reach flood stage.

In anticipation of the severe weather, schools in Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counties let out early and colleges cancelled classes and activities Thursday afternoon.

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College also postponed its ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremonies for its Nursing and Health Science Building. It will be held on another date.

Claflin University and South Carolina State University also cancelled all afternoon classes and activities.

All schools and colleges are expected to resume normal schedules Friday.

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

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