Storm targets downtown Augusta

A hard-driving storm with driving rain, lashing winds and pelting hail swept through downtown Augusta about 6 p.m. Tuesday, slowing traffic and knocking down trees on Greene, Broad and Reynolds streets.

Richmond County dispatchers said splintered trees and fallen branches were scattered about the downtown business district. Dispatchers said they had received some calls about damaged property and several calls about vehicle damage.

The storm appears to have been an isolated event. A dispatcher for the North Augusta Department of Public Safety said they did not receive any calls about storm damage Tuesday evening.

A Georgia Power Co. spokesman said 58 power outages were reported in the Augusta area around the time the storm occurred.

Bruce Cherry, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in West Columbia, S.C., said the event was a severe thunderstorm with straight-line winds.

"It's basically like a downburst. The core of the storm collapses down toward the ground from above," Mr. Cherry said.

He said his agency had no measurement of the wind's velocity.

Reach Jonathan Overstreet at (706) 823-3708 or jonathan.overstreet@augustachronicle.com.