Thousands of South Carolina Electric & Gas customers are without power as a strong series of storms moves across the states Friday afternoon.

SCE&G reported more than 7,000 outages in Charleston County, more than 3,000 in Dorchester and Colleton counties, more than 2,000 in Orangeburg County and around 500 in Berkeley County as of shortly after 4 p.m.

Most of the severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and warnings issued across the state by the National Weather Service had expired or were lifted by 4 p.m.

A storm warning also remained in place for Charleston County, according to the Weather Service.

The band of storms brought down several trees with numerous reports coming in from around the Charleston area. 

In Dorchester County, fallen trees were reported on Ashley River Road near Middleton Place. Gusts at Shutes Folly in Charleston Harbor were reported stronger than 60 mph, according to WeatherFlow.

Wind caused a big rig to lose its trailer on the eastbound span of the Don N. Holt Jr. Bridge over the Cooper River, according to the S.C. Department of Transportation.

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An incident involving a tractor trailer slows traffic on I 526. SCDOT/Provided

Shea Gibson, a Charleston-based meteorologist with the private forecasting company WeatherFlow, took pictures of the tractor-trailer.

A shipping container had fallen off of the truck.

Charleston city and county offices, libraries and parks closed at 2 p.m. as did Trident Technical College and schools. State government offices announced early closings in a number of counties.

Call to check with your destination or check http://scemd.org/CLOSINGS for state closings.

The Charleston area is also under a wind advisory through the evening hours, and forecasters say damaging winds and severe storms could develop along South Carolina's coast this afternoon. 

Showers and storms started moving in to the tri-county area shortly after sunrise. Winds were expected to pick up with more storms likely as the day went on. 

The strongest line of thunderstorms can be expected to move into Charleston by 6 p.m. Storms will be capable of wind gusts as strong as 60 mph, frequent lightning and heavy rain, according to the S.C. Climate Office. The weather spun up at least seven tornadoes in Mississippi.

Additionally, coastal flooding might disrupt the morning commute in low-lying areas. High tide will be at 8:37 a.m., and a coastal flood advisory is in effect until 11 a.m. Meteorologists say some roads could become impassable. 

The Colleton County School District on Friday morning announced schools would operate on an early dismissal schedule. That means the Early Childhood Center will dismiss at 10:40 a.m., elementary schools will dismiss at 11 a.m., Colleton County Middle School will dismiss at noon, and Colleton County High School will dismiss at 12:15 p.m. 

No announcements have been made yet as to whether the inclement weather will impact the Colleton County High School prom scheduled for Friday night. 

The impacts of the inclement weather in downtown Charleston started just before 9 a.m.

The Lockwood Drive office of the South Carolina DMV said on Twitter that they would not be able to complete road tests due to flooding on the route.

Along with the wind advisory, the National Weather Service based in North Charleston has so far issued a high surf advisory until 11 p.m. There will be a high risk of dangerous rip currents and 6 to 8 foot breaking waves.

Gregory Yee contributed to this report.

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Reach Angie Jackson at 843-937-5705. Follow her on Twitter at @angiejackson23

Angie Jackson covers crime and breaking news for The Post and Courier. She previously covered the same beat for the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com in Michigan. When she’s not reporting, Angie enjoys teaching yoga and exploring the outdoors.

Science and environment reporter. Author of Washing Our Hands in the Clouds.

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