Storms Rake South Carolina; People Trapped in Shopping Center
LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) _ A tornado slammed through Lexington today, trapping people in a shopping center. At least five minor injuries were reported.
″We have taken a direct hit,″ said Sharon Kelly, Lexington County public information officer.
The tornado was among about a half dozen twisters to hit South Carolina today. The storm system came ahead of Tropical Storm Beryl, which moved ashore Monday in Florida and was crossing Georgia in a weakened form today.
An unknown number of people were trapped in Lexington’s Village Square shopping center, Kelly said.
Among other places hit around Lexington was a boat manufacturing plant. The extent of the damage there was not immediately known.
Near downtown, ″there’s a bunch of limbs knocked down,″ said George Payne, manager of a Rent-All store. ″It left a lot of debris in our lot, 8- foot pieces of plywood and such.″
Pieces of metal were wrapped around trees and many roads were blocked by debris. All highways into the Lexington area, just west of Columbia, were closed at the request of police.
South of Columbia, a storm near Erhardt tipped over a mobile home, trapping one person inside. The victim was later freed with only minor injuries.
In Neeses in neighboring Orangeburg County, a storm ripped off tree limbs, tore down power lines and caused minor damage to homes and buildings, said John Smith, director of the county Office of Emergency Services.
The state has had heavy rain for two days and more was expected as the remnants of Beryl moved in later today.