Storm packs punch

A Friday afternoon thunderstorm packing high winds felled trees, downed power lines, caused traffic delays and slowed school buses in Columbia and Richmond counties, according to official reports.

 

The bad weather, which is expected to diminish by this morning, brought 53 mph winds at Bush Field Airport and more than an inch of rain to the Augusta area, said Jim Kilmer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in West Columbia, S.C.

The high gales caused trees to fall in Columbia County on Stevens Creek Road, Winfield Circle, Blanchard Road, Appling Harlem Highway and Baker Road, according to an e-mail from county Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker. A tree also reportedly fell on a home in the National Hills area of Augusta, Mr. Kilmer said, and several tree branches littered Interstate 20 in North Augusta.

A Columbia County schools transportation official reported that buses were slowed by the weather, but all children made it home safely. Richmond County school buses ran behind schedule also, according to a release from school system spokesman Louis E. Svehla.

The Georgia-Carolina State Fair did not open Friday night because of the weather. Fair organizers plan to reopen it at noon today.

Power also was knocked out to thousands throughout the Augusta area: 8,000 in Richmond County, 1,400 in Columbia County and 12,282 in Aiken, Barnwell and Saluda counties as of Friday night, according to power company officials, who said workers would be attempting to restore service through the night.

Reach Donnie Fetter and Stephanie Toone at (706) 724-0851.

TODAY'S FORECAST

Partly sunny

High: 74

Low: 44