10,000-plus out of power in Lancaster, 1,300 in York as storm rolls through SC

Chance of severe weather in Carolinas Friday

Watch the ABC11 weather forecast for information on possible severe weather moving through the Carolinas Friday, April 19, 2019.
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Watch the ABC11 weather forecast for information on possible severe weather moving through the Carolinas Friday, April 19, 2019.

Thousands of area customers lost power Friday afternoon as heavy rains and winds lashed York, Chester and Lancaster counties.

More than 1,280 York Electric Cooperative customers were without power Friday afternoon after the storm moved through. Most of those were in the Bethany area near Clover and York, according to the cooperative’s outage map.

About 10,000 combined Duke Energy and Lynches River Electric Cooperative customers were out of power in Lancaster County at 4 p.m., said Darren Player, Lancaster County emergency management director.

A tree is down in Greenleaf Road in Clover, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office. Power lines are in the road and the pole is broken, the sheriff’s office tweeted just after 4 p.m. Friday. Bethany Volunteer Fire Department is on the scene.

Trees were down in Lancaster on several roads, especially on the western side of the county, Player said.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for western York County Friday afternoon, but that warning was later lifted. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar, according to the weather service.

The area included the towns of Smyrna, Hickory Grove and Sharon almost to York and Clover. Areas nearby in Chester, Cherokee and Union counties, according to a weather service statement.

Trees were reported in roadways in Smyrna and Sharon, emergency officials said. Hickory grove had heavy sheets of rain and high winds but no reported damage, said Matt Gilfillan, Hickory grove Fire Department assistant chief.

The latest warning upgrades the possible threat of severe and damaging weather.

Lancaster County shut down its government offices at noon Friday as area counties are under a tornado watch.

Lancaster’s west side was hit hard

York, Chester and Lancaster counties are all under the watch for tornadoes and wind gusts that could reach 70 mph. Flash flooding, downed power lines that could cause utility outages, and quarter-size hail are possible, National Weather Service officials said.

Darren Player, Lancaster County emergency management director, said Duke Energy expects power outages to occur with this storm. Lancaster County Emergency Services will continue to operate as normal even as other government functions shut down, Player said.

The tornado watch for York, Chester and Lancaster counties is in effect until 5 p.m. Friday.

VIDEO: If your area is under a tornado warning, then you may only have a few minutes to get to safety. Here are the actions you should take during a tornado.

All three counties also are bracing for the possibility of localized flooding from potentially heavy rains that could reach up to 2 inches. Several western York County rural roads washed out April 13 during heavy rains.

Check back for updates on this story.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.