Severe thunderstorm causes damage

  • Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jim Tatum/Journal Scene A fire started in the front yard of a property on Beaufort Street when a thunderstorm knocked down a powerline and blew a transformer on Tuesday afternoon in Summerville.


A severe thunderstorm blasted through the Lowcountry early Tuesday evening, taking down trees and limbs and knocking out power to some 1,600 homes in Dorchester County.

Most of the power outages had been restored as of around 2 a.m. Wednesday, according to SCE&G spokeswoman Kim Asbill.

In Summerville, downed trees were reported on Twin Lakes Drive, West Richardson Avenue near Parsons Road, and parts of Knightsville, according to the National Weather Service website.

Wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour were also reported near Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville, the NWS website reported.

An unconfirmed funnel cloud sighting was also reported near Black Tom Road near Moncks Corner, according to the NWS website.

Wednesday morning saw people all over town cleaning up their yards.

On Beaufort Street, just off Central Avenue near West Carolina Avenue, Ronald Ulrichsen was one of many people removing debris from the front yard.

“We were just sitting inside watching TV,” Ronald Ulrichsen said. “All of a sudden I heard a crash. The winds got up — and I mean high! I think it was a tornado.”

What Ulrichsen heard was not only a large crepe myrtle snapping off in his front yard, but a commotion a few houses down the street.

“It lit up like fireworks down there,” he said, pointing to a pile of large limbs and debris still blocking one lane of the street.

Emily Scott said she was sitting in her room as the storm swept into the area.

The next thing she knew, the wind gusted, a loud snap brought her to her window, and lights began flashing in the trees in the front yard, she said.

“Then the transformer blew,” she said. “It caused a live wire to fall into the trees, and a fire started in the front yard.”

She and her family called 911.

“It started blowing up like fireworks,” she said.

She said she heard three or more small explosions before a huge boom rattled the house and knocked out the power.

Fire Department and SCE&G crews responded quickly, she said.

Summerville Fire Department Assistant Chief Jacob Evans said SFD units responded to several storm-related calls, including three downed trees, one suspicious odor, one fire alarm, and the downed power line on Beaufort Street.

“People should do what the family on Beaufort Street did — that is, call us immediately and take care to stay away from it,” Evans said.

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