Severe weather skirts Aiken
A severe thunderstorm warning issued by the National Weather Service remained in effect in Aiken County until 8:48 p.m. Earlier in the day, the service issued a tornado watch for the area that was scheduled to be in effect until 1 a.m. today. Seventeen other counties in South Carolina were included in the watch. In Aiken County, the watch was canceled at around 9:30 p.m.
As a precaution, Aiken County Public Schools cancelled all afternoon and evening activities Wednesday, and some businesses, like Groucho’s Deli, closed early.
Aiken Public Safety reported Wednesday night that the storm downed a tree on Chukker Creek Road, which was cleared, and caused flash flooding in some areas like Whiskey Road.
SCE&G reported Wednesday night that over 1,000 power outages had occurred in Aiken County, affecting more than 51,000 customers. It was unclear at press time if any Aiken Electric Cooperative customers had reported power outages.
Meteorologists reported that a number of factors helped build the storm system’s strength. They included unseasonably warm, wet air that southerly winds had pushed up from the Gulf of Mexico. That air was met by cold air coming in from the Plains via Canada. Unusually high winds drove the cold air eastward.
The storm system moved across the Southeast Wednesday, causing tornadoes and winds that flipped cars on Interstate 75 in Georgia, destroyed homes and businesses and killed at least two people, according to The Associated Press. At least 12,200 were left without power in Georgia.
The Associated Press reported that in Tennessee, officials confirmed that a tornado with peak winds of 115 mph touched down in Mount Juliet, Tenn. No serious injuries were reported even though the path of damage was about 150 yards wide. At least six other tornadoes were reported statewide.