Lowcountry Headlines

Lowcountry Headlines


Storm lays waste to Bamberg, downs trees, cuts power across region

After the Storm

Photo: Edruba / E+ / Getty Images

BAMBERG, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A severe thunderstorm swept through the Augusta region Tuesday, downing trees, knocking out power and damaging buildings, but perhaps nowhere was the damage more severe than Bamberg, where a possible tornado left the town in tatters.

In Augusta, the storm left its mark but may have been milder than many prepared for.

That wasn’t the case along the southern edge of the storm front, which brought a tornado warning in Screven County and a left swath of destruction in Bamberg and Allendale counties.

In Bamberg, debris, building insulation and even bricks were scattered over wide areas. Witnesses believe they saw a tornado.

Multiple trees were uprooted, several businesses reported damage, one person was trapped and several roads were blocked.

Old Bamberg City Hall – a building that’s been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2005 – may have been destroyed. Bamberg Rustic Furniture and More reported damage.

There were no injuries, according to state Rep. Justin Bamberg, but more than 1,200 customers were without power in the hours after the storm.


Characterizing the damage as “extreme,” Bamberg County spokeswoman Alisha Moore urged residents to stay off the roads so emergency crews could do their work.

In keeping with that sentiment, students will stay home Wednesday for a day of e-learning.

Moore said she was at home when the storm hit and her house shook and the windows started to rattle. She took shelter in her bathroom.

A tree came through her bedroom window.

“Not gonna lie – it was terrifying,” she said in a Facebook video.

The National Weather Service will send a team Wednesday to determine whether the damage was caused by a tornado or straight winds.

Not far away, Allendale also received some heavy damage as the storm passed through.

Trees were toppled and splintered, with vegetation and other debris strewn across yards.


The experience was milder in Augusta, where trees came down on power lines and some roadways, but where limbs weren’t left in shards by the high winds.

Even though the storm was strongest in Augusta from noon to 3, it had rained all night and winds had begun kicking up during the morning commute.

That’s when there was a wave of power outages, leaving 8,492 customers without electricity in Columbia County as of 1:21 p.m. Within a few minutes, that number was cut to 5,737.

After leaving death and damage in Alabama, Florida and Atlanta, the first heavy line of the storm moved through Augusta around 1 p.m., then the next wave came through just before 2.

Gusts up to 60 mph and up to 2 inches of rain were expected as the storm moved eastward.


In Richmond County, two closed doors at an industrial storage building were ripped off their hinges by the wind near the intersection of Jimmy Dyess Parkway and Wrightsboro Road.

Elsewhere in Augusta, water mains broke at Wallace Street and Laney Walker Boulevard and along North Wheeler Parkway west of Bobby Jones Expressway.

A tree came down on some power lines along Walton Way near Fleming Drive, and crews were quickly on the scene cutting it up. A tree also came down on Walton Way at Carriage Drive.

In Columbia County, just before 1 p.m., a home was damaged in the 4400 block of Whisperwood in Martinez, where a tree fell on a house and went through the roof. Storm damage was also reported at 2227 Dry Creek Road.

Just before 2 p.m., Grovetown police were on the scene at the intersection of West Robinson Avenue and Wrightsboro Road after a traffic signal came down.

Also in Columbia County:

At Knob Hill Farm Road and Knob Hill Drive in Evans, tree limbs were blocking the road.

On Old Union Road in Harlem, a tree was downed by the storm.

In the 500 block of 524 McKinnes Line in Evans, a storm drain backed up, flooding a yard.

In the 4000 block of Lee Place in Martinez, tree limbs were blocking the roadway.

At Tom Bartles Road and Ray Owens Road in Appling, a tree was downed by the storm.

In the 6500 block of George Walton Drive in Harlem, a tree was downed by the storm.

At Baker Place Road and Kelarie Way in Grovetown, a downed tree was blocking the roadway.

At Mullikin Road and Eagle Trace Lane in Evans, tree limbs were blocking the roadway.

At Stevens Creek Road and St. Andrew’s Way in Martinez, a downed tree fell on a power line.

On Lietz Court in Grovetown, a tree was downed by the storm.

On Shucraft Road in Appling, a tree was downed by the storm.

On Ridge Road in Appling, a tree was downed by the storm.

Off Cobbham Road near Marshall Drive in Appling, trees were downed by the storm.

The storm's approach was being monitored at the Columbia County emergency operations center on Jan. 9, 2024.(WRDW/WAGT)

Elsewhere in the CSRA, damage included:

Just before noon, lightning struck a house in the 8200 block of Gregory Road in Aiken County. No flames were reported, but there was smoke.

Treetrops were snapped off in Lincoln County, as recorded in a photo sent to News 12 by a viewer.

Multiple trees and power lines were down across Saluda County, with roughly 500 power outages. Trees were down on Rock Hill Road, Greenwood Highway, Summerland Highway at Corley Bridge Road and Chappells Highway between Centennial and Highway 702. There was also a broken power pole with lines down on Ridge Spring Highway.

Just before 2:30 p.m. in Edgefield County, a tree was reported blocking Red Hill Road between Antioch Baptist Church and Martintown Road. Trees also came down on roadways near Johnston Highway and Long Cane Road, near Sleepy Creek Road and Timmerman Road and in the 2100 block of Highway 23 West, blocking both lanes.

Trees were down in Burke County on Seven Oaks Road near Botsford Church Road, Story Mill Road at Spread Oak Road, Quaker Road and Cohen Road, and Thompson Bridge Road at Cox Place Road.

In Washington County, multiple trees were down across the area, and rescuers were on the way to a report of a tree falling on an occupied camper.

Just before 2 p.m., Highway 171 North was closed in Glascock County between Beall Springs Road and Chalker Road after a power pole came down.

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