Powerful storms sweep through Augusta region

Severe weather swept through the region late Thursday afternoon and early evening.

At one point at least 18,000 customers were without power in Augusta, according to Georgia Power Co., with another 2,000 in the dark in central Georgia.

Wind gusts as high as 60 mph passed through Columbia County. There were trees down and traffic signals out throughout the county. Some of these trees fell across power lines, said Columbia County Emergency Management Director Pam Tucker.

Petula Fluellen, of Old Petersburg Road in Martinez, said a tree fell across her house while she was working in an upstairs room. A visibly shaken Fluellen said she and her family were lucky.

Several storm-related calls were fielded by county dispatchers from about 5:40 to 6:30 p.m.

During that time, wrecks were reported on Hereford Farm Road at Brandywine Drive as well as along Interstate 20, near the eastbound rest area at mile marker 181, according to Columbia County emergency radio broadcasts.

Crews worked to remove downed trees across roadways, including Oakley Pirkle Road, Sugar Creek Drive, Evans to Locks Road and in the Springlakes subdivision.

Power lines were reported down near several residential areas as well as in front of Grovetown High School.

Traffic lights were out at Evans to Locks Road at Blue Ridge Drive, Columbia and Flowing Wells roads and William Few Parkway at Washington Road.

A tree also fell onto a truck on Springlakes Drive but no one was inside the vehicle.

In McDuffie County, there were reports of trees and power lines down in Dearing and power outages around Thomson.

At least 1,305 homes are without power in North Augusta and Aiken, according to South Carolina Electric and Gas. Another 140 outages were reported in Edgefield, S.C., and McCormick, S.C. as of 6:30 p.m.

A thunderstorm with winds from 40 to 60 mph has been tracking northeast through Augusta, then through Aiken and Edgefield counties.

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