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Storm left 6,000-plus without power in York County, but less rain than predicted

Tropical storm Michael rips through York County with heavy rains, flooding

Tropical storm Michael headed into Chester and Lancaster counties Thursday with wind gusts, heavy rain and flooding.
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Tropical storm Michael headed into Chester and Lancaster counties Thursday with wind gusts, heavy rain and flooding.

More than 6,000 customers in York County were without power for hours Thursday, after winds from Tropical Storm Michael knocked down trees and power lines, officials said.

About 3,500 York Electric Cooperative customers, mainly in northwestern York County, were without power, said Marc Howie, vice president of the cooperative. Winds on the back side of the storm “really kicked up” and caused the outages, Howie said. Poles were snapped, and trees were knocked on lines, Howie said.

Another 2,500-plus Duke Energy customers were without power, including much of the town of Clover and north to the North Carolina state line, officials said.

Clover Police Department officials said a transformer was damaged at the intersection of Fairmont and Stanton streets, north of downtown Clover.

The power outage forced the closure of the Clover branch of the York County library.

The city of Rock Hill had a top amount of about 800 outages. A downed tree on Finley Road was responsible for many of the outages, according to the city’s outage map.

Strong winds ripped an awning off a double carport at a truck business on Anderson Road. The awning was flown into power lines where it stuck against the lines and a power pole. No one was hurt, said mark Simmons of the Rock Hill Fire Department.

Rocky Barrett, owner of the business, said the awning “lifted right up and flew in the air.”

Reported outages in Lancaster and Chester counties were far fewer than in York County, according to the utilities’ websites. By late Thursday, only a few hundred customers in the three counties for all three providers were without power, the utilities’ sites showed.

Although rain and heavy winds pounded the area early Thursday, no injuries were reported. Flooding was minimal, with just a few dirt roads in Lancaster County affected, said Darren Player, Emergency Management director.

Wind gusts of over 40 mph were reported in all three counties, officials said. Schools across the three counties were closed Thursday. Government offices were shut down throughout Lancaster County.

With the ground still soaked from Florence in September, officials were concerned that trees will fall and power lines would be knocked down, causing widespread outages and treacherous road conditions. Heavy winds did snap poles and trees in northern and northwestern York County and there were several crashes Thursday morning, utility and police officials said.

Winds in the storm were at 100 mph when the storm passed through Georgia. Winds were reported at 155 mph when the storm hit Florida’s panhandle. Michael had been downgraded to a tropical storm when it arrived in the three-county area Thursday morning.

The rain forecast of up to 5 inches seemed to end with considerably less as the storm veered east and north. The Rock Hill/York County Airport showed around 2 inches of rain for Thursday, according to NOAA figures.

On Thursday, Lake Wylie remained at its target level, but lakes upstream on the Catawba River already were spilling or expected to spill later in the day. Lake Rhodhiss hit its flood stage in North Carolina, and the headwaters at Lake James were expected to do the same. So is Lookout Shoals Lake.

Duke Energy urged residents near lakes to use caution.

“The Duke Energy hydro operations team is aggressively moving water to reduce impacts as much as possible,” reads the lake safety message for upstream lakes. “We encourage residents living along lakes, streams and other low-lying and flood-prone areas to pay special attention to changing weather conditions and take any necessary precautions.”

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald

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