More than 7,000 people were without power at 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the wake of Tropical Storm Michael.
In Orangeburg, the Department of Public Utilities reported 921 outages.
Elsewhere in the county, S.C. Electric and Gas had 1,151 without power, while Aiken Electric had 1,007, Edisto Electric had 1,082 and Tri-County Electric had 442
In Calhoun County, Aiken Electric had 157 without power, SCE&G had 112 and Tri-County had 1,166.
In Bamberg, the outages for SCE&G numbered 345. Edisto Electric had 1,228.
Transitioning to normal
As the need for immediate life-safety and disaster response resources begins to subside across the state, agencies are beginning the transition to normal, daily operations. Tropical Storm Michael is continuing to move rapidly out of South Carolina. Forecasters report the threat of tornadoes has ended and the threat of minor flooding is diminishing.
The State Emergency Operations Center will remain partially activated at Operation Condition Three to support county emergency managers as requested. Isolated flooding in areas prone to flooding is expected. Officials continue to monitor river levels. Minor to moderate flood stages can be expected over the weekend.
As of Thursday, Oct. 11:
- 21 county emergency operations centers are operational. Many are expected to close today.
- Most county offices and schools are expected to reopen Friday.
- SCDOT reports 2000 employees working the storm to clear an estimated 500 trees in roadways statewide.
- There are a small number of roads with minor flooding. Drivers should not attempt to travel through flooded roadways.
- There are approximately 92,000 power outages statewide.
- DSS and The American Red Cross are operating 9 shelters with 97 occupants.
Minimal residential damage has been reported. Residents should use the SC Emergency Manager mobile app to report any damages they’ve sustained as a result of Tropical Storm Michael. The SC Emergency Manager is available in the App Store and on Google Play: http://onelink.to/dn92rx.
While the remnants of Tropical Storm Michael move out of the area, weather officials are recommending individuals remain at home and indoors.
"It would still be best if you don't need to be on the roads until the rest of midday to stay home," National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Rohrbach said Thursday morning. He works in the Columbia office.
While the heaviest rains have moved out of the area, Rohrbach said winds are still gusty.
"We will see these gusty winds continue through the afternoon," he said. "There will be some pretty good wind gusts on the back side of the storm."
Rohrbach said the winds will decrease as the day goes on, mostly likely returning to normal at about 4 p.m.
Michael left behind some damage.
"We have seen scattered trees and power outages throughout our entire area, including Orangeburg," Rohrbach said.
Orangeburg has seen wind gusts at the airport clock in as high as 45 mph with sustained winds of 30 mph. Tropical storm-force winds are 39 mph or greater.
Rohrbach said there were no confirmed tornadoes in the Orangeburg area as of Thursday morning. Orangeburg was under a tornado warning when Doppler radar indicated a tornado was near Branchville and moving north.
Emergency management officials will most likely survey any damage Friday.
The fast-moving storm ended up keeping rainfall totals relatively low except in isolated cases.
A rain gauge about four miles northwest of Orangeburg recorded about 2.9 inches of rain. Another Orangeburg weather observer recorded about 2.36 inches.
Michael entered South Carolina as a tropical storm west of Augusta and tracked northeast through Newberry.
The National Weather Service reported at noon that the storm was about 50 miles north-northeast of Columbia with 50 mph winds. Movement is northeast at 23 mph.
According to an NWS advisory: "The center of Michael will continue to lift northeast into North Carolina through the afternoon. Very gusty west to northwest winds are still expected in the wake of this system across the South Carolina Midlands and lower Piedmont. Additional rain bands may move into the lower Piedmont and north Midlands through the afternoon, posing a continued risk of flash flooding. A small risk of isolated tornadoes continues this afternoon, mainly across the north Midlands."
Power out and more reports
More than 12,000 people were without power at 9 a.m. Thursday as Tropical Storm Michael races through The T&D Region.
In Orangeburg, the Department of Public Utilities reports 1,683 outages.
Elsewhere in the county, S.C. Electric and Gas has 1,886 without power, while Aiken Electric has 891, Edisto Electric has 1,293 and Tri-County Electric has 211.
In Calhoun County, Aiken Electric has 155 without power, SCE&G has 240 and Tri-County has 176.
In Bamberg, the outages for SCE&G number 2,523. Edisto Electric has 1,580 and Coastal Electric has 31.
Bamberg County has downed trees and debris on roadways, Public Information Officer Brittany Barnwell reported at 9 a.m. "We're experiencing some high wind gusts and heavy rain."
Some trees have downed power lines, she said.
"We are encouraging people to stay off the road," Barnwell said, indicating that more people are out and about than during Hurricane Florence.
In Orangeburg County, Emergency Services Director Billy Staley reported multiple trees are down.
Calhoun County Director of Emergency Management David Chojnacki reported multiple trees down with cleanup underway.
Chojnacki said wind at 7 a.m. was sustained at 19 mph with gusts up to 45. By 9:30 a.m., wind reached 26 mph sustained with gusts up to 64.
T&D correspondent and other reports
T&D Correspondent Kenny Anderson reported an oak tree down at Carver-Edisto Middle School.
Correspondent Pansy Clayton reported at 12:15 p.m. that there are trees down and some damage in Denmark on Voorhees Road, and lots of damage in Blackville. "They even had the whole town blocked off (the roads) at one point this morning."
According to the Elloree Facebook page: "It looks like Elloree still has power outages in some areas including TeeVee Road, Park Street, Harlan Street and Hampton Street. We are flickering on Cleveland Street but hanging in for now. There is a large tree down on Harlin Street. Crews are working to clear roadways and get power back up so please be patient and stay indoors if possible!"
At 7:30 a.m., T&D Correspondent Corey Brechlin reported moderate wind and rain in the Shillings Bridge Road area with branches down on roads. Power was out in the Prince of Orange Mall area.
Correspondent Donna Holman had a similar report for the area off Homestead Road near U.S. 301 between Bowman and Four Holes: “Moderate to heavy rainfall, sustained winds with sporadic gusts.”
Correspondent Pansy Clayton reported "a few trees down, small ones, and lots of debris" in Ehrhardt.
Correspondent Minnie Miller reported power out since 5 a.m. in the Hunters Chapel area of Bamberg County. Small limbs are down.
Correspondent Ron Baxley from near Barnwell reported “lots of torrrential rain and some high winds but not any damage that I can see where I am. The power went off and on late last night.”
A tornado watch in Orangeburg and Calhoun counties ended at 7 a.m. and a flood advisory issued by the National Weather Service in Columbia expired at 7:15 for areas including western Calhoun County and northwestern Orangeburg County.
The NWS reported that at 5:11 a.m. radar indicated heavy rain in the flood-risk areas, noting that up to two inches of rain had fallen in the previous three hours. Additional rainfall of up to two inches was possible during the watch period.
Michael was moving at 21 mph to the north-northwest.
A tornado warning was issued for northwestern Calhoun County early Thursday. North central Orangeburg County and southeastern Lexington County are included.
A thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located just northwest of Orangeburg moving north at 35 mph at 11:52 p.m. Wednesday.
The warning was in effect until 12:30 a.m. Thursday
Radar indicated rotation in the storm.
Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed, according to the NWS.
Damage to roofs, windows and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely.
Earlier Wednesday night, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for central Orangeburg County.
The warning was issued at 11:26 p.m. in connection with a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado. It was located near Branchville, about 10 miles east of Bamberg. It was moving north at 35 mph. The warning ended at midnight.
Locations included in the warning were Orangeburg, Rowesville, Cordova and the Brookdale, Wilkinson Heights and Edisto areas.