Lightning struck at least two houses and set a tree on fire Saturday as fierce thunderstorms dropped heavy rain on the Lowcountry. More storms were forecast for today.
"Although tomorrow does look better than today," meteorologist Frank Alsheimer with the National Weather Service, Charleston, said Saturday evening.
A morning storm dropped 3 to 4 inches of rain in Mount Pleasant. Lightning hit homes in Hamlin and Brickyard plantations. The homes were smoldering when firefighters arrived, but crews kept fire from breaking out, said Battalion chief Scott Taylor. Dime-sized hail fell along Rifle Range Road.
An early afternoon storm also dropped 3 to 4 inches in West Ashley. Lightning blew out a transformer at a home on Ashley River Road and set fire to a tree on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston near Interstate 526.
"The winds were blowing tree limbs into power lines and the power lines were arcing," said Charleston Fire Assistant Chief Ed Bath.
The storms cut electricity to 4,000 SCE&G customers in the Charleston area. Power had been restored to more than 2,000 by evening, said spokesman Eric Boomhower.
The downpour flooded low streets in downtown Charleston, and people waded through water in the Market. Low spots flooded on Ashley River Road and Ashley Phosphate Road.
The culprit was a weather front pushing through the usual unstable summer atmosphere, Alsheimer said.