Tornado watch, severe weather this morning

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for much of the region until 10 a.m.

Severe thunderstorms with high winds are sweeping through the Augusta-Aiken area. A flood advisory has also been issued for the region through 9:30 a.m.

Several power lines are down in the area of Springwood Drive and in the area of Meadowbrook Drive this morning, authorities said.

About 36 customers are currently without power due to 11 outages in Augusta, according to Jeff Wilson, a spokesman for Georgia Power. About 260 customers are without power in Evans and 350 in Thompson, Mr. Wilson said.

Statewide, Georgia Power is reporting 8,500 customers without power as of 8:45 a.m., down from 11,200 at 7:15 a.m. The majority of those without power are in metro Atlanta, northwestern Georgia and central Georgia.

Richmond County dispatchers said they are receiving reports of traffic light outages all across the county.

The National Weather Service reports Daniel Field received nearly a half inch of rain in one hour, and Bush Field reported more than three quarters of an inch of rain in one hour this morning.

Authorities in Columbia County report nearly an inch and a half of rain has fallen at the Evans government center this morning.

Columbia County emergency management director Pam Tucker has received a number of reports of debris on the roads.

"Crews are working around the county to clear those up, but with the darkness and wet roads, you need to drive slower than usual so you can see any debris ahead of you," Tucker said.

"Also, remember that the roads are very wet and slippery. The slower you drive, the safer you’ll be in this weather."

Burke and Columbia counties are also included in the tornado watch, which has been extended over most of Georgia.

Meanwhile, much of South Carolina has been placed under a tornado watch as a line of intense storms and high winds quickly rolls across the state, and thousands are without power.

Duke Energy reports more than 4,800 customers were without power Wednesday morning, most in Greenwood County. South Carolina Electric and Gas reported more than 1,000 customers were in the dark, including 290 in their Aiken, Barnwell and Saluda County service area.

There were numerous reports of tree limbs down, and the weather service said a mobile home was blown off its foundation in Laurens County.

A flash flood warning was issued for Columbia, with forecasters warning that heavy rain could cause street flooding, especially in the Five Points.

A wind advisory for gusts as high as 45 mph is in effect through 6 p.m.

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