Originally created 09/09/04

Hurricane moves on with heavy wind, rain



COLUMBIA - A soaked South Carolina began drying out and cleaning up after the remnants of Hurricane Frances dumped nearly a foot of rain and spun off about two dozen weak tornadoes.

The storm left small pockets of damage across the state, from downed trees in Hilton Head Island on Monday to more than 40 homes damaged Tuesday in Sumter County and roads washed out near Walhalla early Wednesday.

The state had two storm-related deaths. Utility worker Glenn Wyatt, 33, of Simpsonville, was electrocuted late Tuesday evening when a live line hit him as he worked to restore power in Greenville, Coroner Parks Evans said.

Robin J. Williams, 50, of Martinez, died on Interstate 20 near Aiken on Tuesday morning after losing control of her sports utility vehicle, troopers said.

Though 14 of the state's 46 counties reported some significant damage, it was limited to scattered areas of a few trees or homes, state Emergency Management Division spokesman Joe Farmer said.

Insurance workers were out Wednesday figuring out how much damage the storms did. About 800 claims had been made by the afternoon, but more are expected, said Allison Dean Love, the executive director of the South Carolina Insurance News Service.

The claims ranged from a few hundred dollars for minor damage to several hundred thousand dollars for destroyed buildings, she said. The total amount of damage caused by the storms statewide could not immediately be determined.

State emergency crews also were out assessing the damage from the latest round of weather to hit the storm-weary state.

"They are dealing with three different storms," said Mr. Farmer, noting that they are still looking at damage from Hurricane Charley and Tropical Storm Gaston.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie also sloshed into the state within the past month. And Hurricane Ivan is predicted to be off Florida's west coast early next week.

No corner of the state has been spared from the back-to-back-to-back storms.

"We've had quite enough here," said Henry Gordon, the emergency management director for Oconee County in the far northwest part of the state.

By late Tuesday, the main threat from Frances had shifted from tornadoes to rain.

The hillier parts of Oconee County got close to a foot of rain, while Walhalla reported more than 9 inches of rain, Mr. Gordon said.

Floodwaters closed more than 30 roads in the county, and several roads were washed out, Mr. Gordon said. Several homes had water seep in and at least one mobile home was swept off its foundation.

"Overall, we've been pretty lucky considering all the rain we've had," he said.

Other places in the Upstate reported 4 to 8 inches of rain, with isolated reports of 10 inches in Pickens County, Emergency Management Director Don Evett said.

"The hardest I have ever seen it rain was last night," Mr. Evett said.

It was the same story in Greenville. The Reedy River spilled its banks, turning the usually serene river into a torrent of whitewater. But the flooding wasn't as extensive as in July when a sudden storm dumped 8 inches of rain and sent the river to the second-highest level recorded in downtown Greenville, damaging about 200 homes and businesses.

Most of the tornadoes were reported farther east, from Sumter and Florence counties stretching north and hooking west toward Union and York counties, the National Weather Service said.

So far, forecasters have a preliminary total of 19 tornadoes, but that doesn't count several tornado reports being investigated in the Pee Dee. A final number is expected later this week.

Storm damage

Here's a county-by-county look at the damage caused from Monday to Wednesday by the remnants of Hurricane Frances. Information is from the state Emergency Management Division and local officials:

CHESTERFIELD: Seventeen roads impassable.
DARLINGTON: Three tornadoes. Extensive damage to 12 to 14 homes in Hartsville, and one destroyed. Three flooded bridges.
FLORENCE: Three tornadoes, no major damage. One home damaged by a fallen tree.
GREENVILLE: More than 9 inches of rain. 3,800 homes without power.
LANCASTER: Five houses damaged, homes flooded, 12 roads closed, including a bridge. Two barns destroyed.
LEE: One mobile home destroyed and 20 damaged.
MARLBORO: Many fallen trees. 20 homes moderately damaged. Two warehouses damaged, a store destroyed.
OCONEE: Walhalla had 9.7 inches of rain; 33 roads damaged. Three homes have water damage. Bridge in Cleveland failed.
PICKENS: One road washed out and several county roads with potholes. Eight homes with water damage and the Pickens Flea Market flooded.
RICHLAND: Two mobile homes destroyed near Gadsden and three people injured. At Fort Jackson, 22 homes damaged.
SUMTER: 21 mobile homes damaged, five destroyed; 15 site-built homes damaged, one site-built home destroyed. One business destroyed.