Severe weather strikes area

Storm clouds roll in over Folly Beach on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Lisa Buck

Thousands were left without power Friday after a quick-moving storm blew through the Lowcountry, leaving downed trees and capsized boats in its wake.

Images of ominous black clouds swirled on social media as beachgoers scurried to shelter. Pete Mohlin, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in North Charleston said the squall line storm didn’t drop a significant amount of rain, but brought damaging winds that exceeded 60 mph.

He said there were numerous reports of downed trees across the tri-county area, but the biggest was a 50-foot tree across Aviation Avenue near the Boeing plant. There were other trees down reported in Adams Run, Goose Creek, Shadowmoss and Ponderosa and in Mount Pleasant and James Island.

The highest wind gust recorded was 62 mph at the Charleston International Airport, but there were reports of 65 mph gusts at near Coleman Boulevard and Rifle Range Road in Mount Pleasant, Mohlin said.

There were reports of roof damage in Shadowmoss and some shed doors blown off, he said. There also was a reported off the south end of Folly Beach.

Coast Guard officials said there were numerous boats run aground in the Charleston area because of the storm. They rescued four individuals off Morris Island whose vessel capsized and brought them back to shore.

At its peak, South Carolina Electric and Gas was reporting more than 11,000 customers without power in Charleston County. By 8 p.m., there were still just over 5,500 customers without power.

Mohlin said there is a slight chance of showers for the Fourth holiday, but that rain and severe weather would be more likely Sunday. Mostly sunny skies are expected with highs in the mid 90s and lows in the mid 70s.

There is a 50 percent chance of rain Sunday with highs in the upper 80s and lows in the mid 70s.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughton.