Storms rolled through The T&D Region on Tuesday afternoon and into the evening, spawning tornadoes in Orangeburg and Bamberg counties.

The storms caused damage and knocked down trees throughout the region.

“We were pretty busy,” Calhoun County Emergency Services Director David Chojnacki said early Tuesday evening.

The National Weather Service confirmed tornadoes in Bamberg and Orangeburg counties. Officials will have to visit the sites to determine the intensity, path length and more.

The following were reported to the National Weather Service:

  • A tornado was reported by the Orangeburg County emergency manager. It crossed U.S. Highway 21 between Rowesville and Branchville.
  • There was a social media report from the public of a tornado on the ground at U.S. Highway 301 between Ulmer and Olar.
  • A funnel cloud was spotted in east central Calhoun County near St. Matthews by a trained weather spotter. Chojnacki said it has not been confirmed.

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A number of trees were knocked down and there were some automobile accidents in Calhoun County, but Chojnacki had not heard of any injuries caused by the storms.

In Orangeburg County, wind damage was reported at a solar farm along Highway 210, south of Bowman. Storm rotation was reported during the event.

“We got reports of rotation from Branchville to Cattle Creek to outside of Bowman,” Orangeburg County Emergency Services Director Billy Staley said late Tuesday afternoon.

In Bamberg County, “we have storm damage (downed trees) on Spider Road, Carver Road, Macedonia Church Road, Farrells Road and Ehrhardt Road,” county spokesman Sh’Kur Francis said.

Later he added, “A lot of trees are down, lost homes and power outages in the Colston community of Bamberg County.”

The National Weather Service issued number of warnings, mostly between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. They included:

  • A warning was issued for western Orangeburg County shortly after 3:15 p.m. for radar-indicated rotation in Aiken County. The storm was spotted near the Savannah River Site and was moving northeast.
  • A warning was issued for southern Bamberg County and south central Orangeburg County. A tornado was spotted at 4 p.m. near Allendale and was moving toward Branchville and Rowesville. This tornado was described by the NWS as “large and extremely dangerous.”

There were reports of roofs blown off structures in Allendale.

  • A severe storm capable of producing a tornado was reported over Branchville heading northeast toward the Bowman, Holly Hill, Vance and Eutawville areas.
  • A tornado warning was issued for central Bamberg County to include the town of Ehrhardt.
  • About .46 inches of rain had fallen at the Orangeburg Municipal Airport through 3:53 p.m. Tuesday.

Weather closures, cancellations

There were a number of closures Tuesday ahead of the storm.

Orangeburg County and Orangeburg city government offices closed.

Orangeburg City Council canceled its regularly scheduled meeting and rescheduled it to 6 p.m. Thursday. City Council meetings are held in the city gym.

The Orangeburg and Calhoun county school districts dismissed students early Tuesday and canceled all after-school activities.

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, Claflin University, South Carolina State University and Voorhees College all ended classes early on Tuesday.

S.C. State’s Spring Honors and Awards Convocation was rescheduled for Wednesday morning. Voorhees’ Women’s Legacy Lecture Series was canceled.

Another round of thunderstorms is forecast on Wednesday ahead of a cold front.

There is a potential for strong or severe storms in the afternoon. The severe weather threat on Wednesday is not anticipated to be as widespread as Tuesday’s event.

However, forecasters say Wednesday’s storms may still produce large hail and damaging wind gusts.

By Thursday, the cold front will be pushing into the area with possible thunderstorm development during the late morning or early afternoon. Dry air is expected to quickly move in.

Friday into the weekend is expected to be sunny and slightly cool with highs in the 60s and lows reaching as far as the upper 30s Sunday morning. It is forecast to warm up Monday into the upper 70s.

T&D Managing Editor Gene Crider contributed to this report.

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