A severe thunderstorm that swept through Lincoln County early today downed trees and damaged several tents at the Knox Boy Scout Reservation but caused only a few minor injuries.
Its one of those deals where we train and train with our camps staff and the kids, and you hope you never have to put it into action, said Scout Executive Jeff Schwab of the Georgia-Carolina Council of Boy Scouts.
As most of the 215 Scouts and adult counselors at the camp were sleeping, the storm skirted Thurmond Lakes Bussey Point Wilderness Area and slammed into the Scout camp, where a well-rehearsed emergency plan was activated at 1:25 a.m.
We have NOAA weather radios in place, and on, 24 hours per day while camp is in session, and as soon as the National Weather Service sent the first alarm of severe weather they put spotters in place, he said. Everybody did exactly what they were supposed to do.
During the storm, Scouts were rushed to shelters in some of the camps permanent buildings.
Several minor injuries were reported, he said, including some bumps and bruises and a minor head injury suffered when a child ran into a tent pole, Mr. Schwab said.
The campers were cleaning up today, and the reservation was returning to normal by midday.
Obviously, they are adapting and improvising, but they are Scouts, he said. Theyve got everything laid out in a big field, and they are back in the program areas already.
A troop from Savannah, Ga., opted to return home early because it did not have extra equipment. Other Scout groups will remain through the session.
Weve very proud of the camp director and the entire staff, he said. They knew exactly what to do and they got everyone out.
Columbia County authorities sent assistance to the camp early today after being called for mutual aid by Lincoln County officials who also went to the camp.
"The Fire Department helped cut up trees and they had several tents damaged," said Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker. "They (Scouts) are hanging their stuff out to dry."
The damage was not as severe as it had appeared before daylight, she said.
Elsewhere, scattered reports of downed trees and damaged power lines were received on the South Carolina side of the lake, mainly in the Modoc and Parksville areas, said Chief Ranger Allan Dean of the Army Corps of Engineers.
"There are mainly just trees down in a few areas," he said, adding that corps officials would visit the areas later today to get a more accurate assessment of damage.
Storms also surged through Columbia County early today, but no reports of serious damage had been received this morning.